Tool Shed

by Arlin Buyert
Wild Poetry Forum
Third Place, March 2013
Judged by Deborah Bogen


The smallest building
on his eighty-acre farm
was an unknown cave:

one window dead center
over the well-oiled workbench
with wrenches, hammers and post-hole diggers
hanging in disarray from rusty nails.

Grandpa’s twenty pound sledge
leans into the corner
next to his wood chair
where, when rain pelted the tin roof,

he would sit,
watch me clamp his handsaw into the vise,
then slowly stroke its teeth with a file
while he rolled a cigarette,
waiting for the sun.


This poet understands that restraint and economy can find the compressed power of a small moment. A simple terse description (almost a list poem itself) supports the palpable tension between the speaker and the grandfather as one attempts to get the chore done right while the other sits “rolling a cigarette,/ waiting for the sun.” --Deborah Bogen

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