Today's poem is by Al Maginnes


Given enough space, each man believes
he could raise cathedrals, construct
furniture whose nails would outlive
six generations, so he stakes
claim to some part of the basement,
a corner of the garage, even
a small building divided from
the hothouse of family noise
where most of his life is rooted.
There, he might stand amid
drafty fumes of gasoline, sawed wood,
and the smell that, thick as old dust,
bakes deep in the handles of tools,
combustion of sweat, sore fingers,
old solvents. Bunker of small labors,
this is where husbands repair
for the quiet beer, the unfettered cigarette
while sorting nut, bolt, washer
by size into baby food jars.
The larger tasks—lamp
that demands rewiring, table leaning
on the absence of a leg—lie
incomplete, monuments
to the ambition of self-reliance.
See how the ordered tools hang,
box wrenches and saw blades arranged
largest to smallest, orange cords
coiled tight. Brother of labor,
what comes here needing repair
is often fixed without lifting a single tool.

Copyright © 2005 Al Maginnes All rights reserved
from Film History
WordTech Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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