Smoking in the girls’ room, sneaking a drink, napping
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After he died, my mother gave me his toolbox,
saying he would have wanted me to have it,
the hammer kept inside as if in a little grave.
When I take it out, holding its nicked and sweat-stained handle,
I feel as if I am shaking his hand, from those days when he would come
to fix something, pound something back, make rough-hewn sense of the day.
I can still hear the rhythm of his hammering, that tack, tack, tack, as he struck
and swore at the rank disruptions of the world.
I remember those days when he would nail a joist, pin it into place,
affix it, Mr. Fix-it, now gone for so long, with all the lost fathers,
dead as doornails, their hands so far away.
What a fix we’re in, all the lost sons, our days, our nights,
like hammers lifted and hurled, lifted and hurled,
hammering, clamoring, at this heavy, inviolate, unfixable world.