My father’s tools hung on pegboard
in the basement, each in its place:
crosscut saw and coping saw,
plane, pliers, wrenches, hammers,
chisels, rasp, and a harmonica
of translucent yellow screwdrivers
beside the red hand drill. With these,
he put up closet rods, built shelves,
and fixed the house.
He was meticulous.
No job was done
until the tools were put away,
and every speck of sawdust
swept into the dustpan,
dumped in the incinerator.
I was enchanted by his level,
green bubbles trapped in tubes.
When my father was at work,
I sneaked into the basement.
I tapped chalk lines across my legs and arms.
When I traced the coping saw over my palm,
I could perforate my skin without bleeding.
I aimed a drill bit over my heart
and practiced turning the handle.
First published in Hermeneutic Chaos Journal