Thursday, October 2, 2008


My father always knew the secret
name of everything—
stove bolt and wing nut,
set screw and rasp, ratchet
wrench, band saw, and ball—
peen hammer. He was my
tour guide and translator
through that foreign country
with its short-tempered natives
in their crewcuts and tattoos,
who suffered my incompetence
with gruffness and disgust.

Pay attention, he would say,
and you'll learn a thing or two.
Now it's forty years later,
and I'm packing up his tools
(If you know the proper
names of things you're never
at a loss) tongue-tied, incompetent,
my hands and heart full
of doohickeys and widgets,
whatchamacallits, thingamabobs.
"Hardware" by Ronald Wallace from Time's Fancy.
© University of Pittsburgh Press, 1994

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Those pictures are so, so cute and precious! Great poem, too!