≡ Menu

Two Poems


Hammer and hacksaw, vise and screwdriver have the hard gaze
and slow heartbeat of reptiles. I am visiting the hardware store

with my father. In a wooden drawer stained by dirty fingers
a sea of nails rolls back and forth. The bare light bulb

burning in the middle of the ceiling cuts deep shadows
in the men’s faces, silent men who smell of sawdust and kerosene,

boiled cabbage and cigarettes. When I furtively pick up a crested little tool
its claws bite my palm. The neighborhood’s only color TV glows neon

in the dark room behind the register. Cowboys are fighting at the bar,
chairs are crashing, the soundtrack builds ominously.



He comes to understand
the spirit abiding in each scrap of wood
that passes through his hands

every child is born he says
knowing the language of trees
for so long our unformed ear
is pressed to the wall of eternity

with his hands he smoothes the wood
from which a face is beginning
to emerge

tools rest at his feet
the blackened little knife
a bent nail


Karina Borowicz’s forthcoming book, The Bees Are Waiting, was selected by Franz Wright for the 2011 Marick Press Poetry Prize. Read her previous work in Contrary.