A sheet metal screw with a combination head
Winking among the dustbin refuse
Tells something cryptic, fateful, hard to understand.
Noticing it takes you half a continent away
To a garage lined with coffee cans
Filled with screws, or nails, or wingnuts.
Belts, bits, washers, bards or anchors. Tacks.
Dad never would’ve thrown away a screw.
You think of great-grandpa Newton’s shed
Out behind the tomato patches
Where every wall the the entire floor held cans
Of baby doll heads, geegaws, bobs and springs.
The story goes, when he first saw it, your father
Lost his breath and had to lean against the door
How your mother loved to recount that moment
To all the cousins, how her husband and grandfather
Had been cast from the same thrifty mold.
All of us piled into that linoleum-lined kitchen and ate
Crispy catfish, winning tomatoes, mile-high meringues.
She seemed to tell it every time,
Until Grandpa died and the shed got tore down
And Grandma moved to Sunset Senior Care.
And everyone stopped driving out to Oklahoma so much.