Saturday, June 15, 2013

Shed: a poem by Tracy

By Tracy


Sharpness is in there
and no mother.

Scarier than
her kitchen drawer.

A long dark door
I mustn’t enter

unless Dad takes me.
I like it better,

paint-tray bigger
than dustpan, plane-

blade brighter
than any grater.

He tells my brother
Don’t touch that

it’s hot mate.

White paint is peeling.

He uses the hotmate
to blow off paint

teaches me

explains the layers,
mixes colours.

I sit in the dirt,
don’t need to be told

Don’t touch
adoring the bubble

that can’t get out,
the block he uses

to make things straight
that he calls spirit

. Shows me plumb
and lets me play

with sandpaper like
a face unshaven

unfolded from pouch
of oily apron

loaded with nails
like the million pins

in Mum’s sewing box
but nails are serious:

I know from threats
of rust-and-tetanus,

they melt and sink
under his claw hammer

which can also yank
them back, can make

your thumbnail
turn black: get back.

Smitten, I weigh
smooth wood

of hammer
and axe-handle

when he’s not looking,
hold my breath at

loud axe-head
biting the red

stump of wood get back
get back
as the chips

sting my bare legs
because I love

the smell of sap
the same way

clippings fly
damp and rich

hitting and nipping me
as he mows the lawn.

We follow on
when he sits down

for a drink
after a hard day’s work

one on each knee:
my brother and me

until he begins to smoke
and sets us at his feet

for fear of ash
for safety’s sake,

brown bottles poke
from a paper bag

soggy at edges,
he sings of a clock

that stopped short never
to go again

Tracy Ryan

No comments: