This was your domain.
Pocket jingling a handful of brads, flat pencil behind your ear,
you’d bore through the browsers; pay and go.
Always at home with a hammer
and a couple of two-by-fours,
you’d be at the bench,
or feeding boards through the blades,
after you lost at cards.
Not a son, I was in the way—
though I did take shop.
Remember the magazine rack?
All my design,
a clever filigree.
But I lacked
You made it
for me, so I failed.
I was not to touch your tools,
only sweep up after the drill’s curlicue shavings,
just dust the vise.
Now the workshop is as you left it.
The band saw still seems off and running,
its gruff snarl ready
for the knotty pine of your pain.
Mallet out, lids off
baby food jars of hooks and eyes.
Christmas sleds, half assembled,
in the half-paned cellar light.
With you in your box for nearly a year,
Mother thinks you’ll come back
as a blown socket or perhaps a door unhinged.
Pushing my orange empty cart,
I cruise the hardware aisles,
flipping through all the laminated “how to’s.”
I just want to reconstruct you,
fond as I am of the crowbar, clamp, Sawzall,
I’m wrist deep in nail bins, where
another fistful of ten-pennies falls.
I come away with a wrench, nothing more.
A graduate of Vassar College, Sharon Kennedy-Nolle holds an MFA and doctoral degree from the University of Iowa. She has attended the Frost Place Summer Writing Program in 2014 and 2015 as a merit scholarship recipient. This year, she was accepted to the Bread Loaf Conferences in both Middlebury and Sicily. Her poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Dickinson Review, Juked, The Lindenwood Review, The Round, The Syracuse Review, and The Westchester Review, among others, while her dissertation was just published as Writing Reconstruction: Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the Postbellum South (University of North Carolina Press, 2015). Her book, Writing Reconstruction: Gender and Citizenship in the Postebllum South, is available here.
It continues to snow dust.
The sun comes out of the closet.
Jays enter under the door
jumping over a line of air.
Maybe it was just the light,
cracked somewhere, leaked out,
lucky—I thought you shifted away
in voice, my mouth to hear,
My senses are a cushion, and yet this horror appears to taste my morrow. My alarms are useless because they are on fire with the rest of my home.
Be honest now—
just for a minute; I cried.
I had him locked out—
a perfectly good wish.
Privately, for over a year now you drove off and left me.
The place cooled down beaming and bright—
put my name on a silencer (it’s not the end of the world).
In the mirror, the wooden bust of Christ Nicodemus carved
and Joseph commended to the sea, stares out for reflection.
Only a true spell
of fittingly glamorous phenomena
repaired sunstruck imagination—
Too big for your body, the whale of a bed will go on sale; also the dresser, its
three-linked mirrors tall as sails.
The Nazis are back in town.
No, I know. They never, ever left.