Junk museum

Tucked under my bed
wearing the fuchsia spread
from Sears lived in the biggest
square box I could find in the garage
collection, not too tall but deep
enough to hold treasures I carried
indoors that grownups thought
should be left outdoors.

Bits of metal that, when picked
up off street or path, thunked
satisfyingly into a palm. I had no idea,
for the most part, of their provenance
or purpose, what mechanical beast
they’d separated from, but there
was something about their shape
or size (had to fit in the box)
that called to me.

I liked the short, fat screws that
looked like little people with hats,
the smooth slimness of washers,
their doughtnut-hole centers
perfect to plug a finger into,
springs that sproinged, and,
if I was really lucky, old keys,
bent and rusty that sent me
spiraling into imagined locks
that would never receive them
again.

My father had a workbench
full of this stuff—it wasn’t as if
we lacked for hardware. He was
perplexed by my junk museum,
tried to persuade me to keep it
in the garage, but I wanted it
under me as I slept, the solidity
of missing items found, treasured,

felt when my hand reached
into a denim pocket, a silent
specimen offering itself to my
imagination, spinning errant
metal into precious nuggets,
brimming with potential.

About janishaag

Writer, writing coach, editor
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