All winter the tools hung in neat rows
in her cold garage:
saws, screwdrivers, try squares,
among them her father’s old hammer,
the handle spattered with paint,
the head so rusty
she doesn’t use it anymore.
He had a temper, and she was frightened of him,
but she liked to go out to his wood shop
in the machine shed next to the barn,
watch him build simple furniture,
and to hand him screws and washers
from rows of dusty jars.
Spring has come, her garage has warmed,
she’s cutting half-laps and mortises.
She’s forgotten about the flaws
in last year’s projects,
and when it’s time for lunch
she leaves everything where it is
so she can pick up where she left off.
A marking tool, a mallet and three chisels
face every-which-way in the curled shavings
like five horses grazing in a windless pasture.