Spring 2021 / Issue 109

Jim Whiteside


The wooden workbench,
scattered with half-finished
projects. The saw and drill,
the red tool chest,
its internal mechanism
allowing only one drawer
to open at a time. The
pneumatic jack, its long,
white handle. The cabinets,
bought from an online posting,
hung and painted gun-gray.
The carburetor, sitting on a table,
the spring that makes it work.
The bin with empty cans,
the overflowing ashtray,
measures of the time
he’s logged here.
The gas-powered heater,
its flame, the soft blue glow.
The overturned metal-bottom
boat. The mouse nest,
the baby mice, their wriggled
mass. The smoke-stained
posters, the boxes and boxes.
The vice clamps, the free weights,
the picture of the two of us,
tacked to the wall. His feet,
sticking out from beneath the car.
The draining oil. The mind
that knows the problem,
how to fix it. The delivery,
picking the right tool
from the box,
carrying it across the cold
cement floor. Its destination.
My father’s anticipating hand.