The Workbench

The Workbench

After the burial, I walk up to the old white clapboard house
and peer with cupped hands into a cobwebbed cellar window.
Inside the dank and musty interior,
I see my grandfather’s once vital workbench
ghostlike, scarcely lit by streaks of powdered April sunshine.
His step stool once too big for me,
seems to smile at me in the quiet.
I can hear his work shoes clomp down the cellar steps;
see his aged fingers flicking on the switch of a fluorescent light
rippling the darkness with blue white tint.

My grandfather gently picks through a muddle of
worn down wooden handled hammers,
screwdrivers spattered with drops of red and white,
scratched wrenches, gunmetal gray pliers mingle
with baby food jars filled with nails, wood screws, washers.
Tools with meaning only to him.
I miss him every time I think of the doll bed
he made for me one Christmas
out of old maple scraps from his Canadian woods.
I still believe Santa needed his help.

Clouds part to reveal patches of blue sky,
late winter snows are scraps of white on murky brown land.
With water-filled eyes, I set aside my memories,
wave a little girl goodbye to the workbench.
More smiles will come.

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