the toolshed

Come in and shut the door.
Don’t step on the rake
or send the circular saw flying
This is where I store
next to the seed and motor oil
all my failures
the projects begun
but never completed
the tools and parts
I can’t recall the function of
the things I don’t use anymore
but can’t get rid of
because to do so
would be like discarding
a small piece of myself.

Here are the ski boots that I wore
the day I broke my ankle
the tennis racquet my son used
when he tore his ACL
the basketball he shot
a few weeks before he died
the camping gear which  gathered dust
when my wife became too sick
to sleep in the woods.

The musty smell here
is the smell of my regrets
which grow so numerous with age
that soon I’ll have to buy a second shed
just to house them in.
(Originally published in Boston Literary Magazine)

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