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Nuts and Bolts
Susan T. Moss

Worn floorboards creak
in every old hardware store.
Each is familiar even
on first visit when I know
before seeing every stacked shelf
filled with a bevy of screws,
door handles, metal thingamajigs,
rubber boots and gloves assembled
near furniture polish and mops
close to orange chain saws.
Toward the back, paint cans perch
in tightly packed rows
next to brushes and color charts
glowing under fluorescent
fixtures too high for dusting.
In one corner stand sturdy shovels
for dirt or snow and to my left
among kitchen utensils
hangs the cake tester I’ve been seeking
for three months plus paper baking
cups with red hearts
like the ones in magazine photos.
Nearby sits a small iron skillet
hard to ignore and so useful
to sauté garlic someday after planting
grass seed from aisle six and fixing
the sink with chrome parts in aisle ten.
Big barrels of nails don’t block access
to the counter anymore and cash
registers don’t clink when opened,
but there’s the smell of oil and wood
in a place where people still know how
to repair household drips and cracks
and measure within a micron, which beats
plunger-over-clog any steel-clad megamart
where I could get lost without a map.

© by Susan T. Moss.
Used with the author’s permission.


Susan T. Moss lives in Evanston, Illinois, where she is serving her second term as president of the Illinois State Poetry Society. A former high school English teacher, she is the author of Keep Moving 'til the Music Stops (Lily Pool/Swamp Press) and her work has appeared in several journals and anthologies. Forthcoming from Antrim House Press is a new book, In From the Dark. Friends and family inspire and influence Susan’s poetry, as has traveling to all seven continents, hiking Kilimanjaro, skydiving (once!) and attempting to finish her bucket list of adventures.



Post New Comment:
Ha, the good old General Store my grandma told me stories about.
Posted 04/14/2014 05:38 PM
My dad's favorite place to go and me, even as an adult, tagging along. What fun to relive all this. Well done Susan.
Posted 04/11/2014 10:55 AM
Wilda Morris:
Ah, yes! If only I had the talent for those fix-its! The poem takes me right to every hardware store I've ever been in! Well done!
Posted 04/11/2014 09:47 AM
I'm lucky - I do have a cavern of a hard-ware store. I was actually in it yesterday. I only wanted a battery - but spent at least half an hour wandering around it. Thank you for such a delightful poem
Posted 04/11/2014 09:32 AM
I was there with you browsing through the aisles at the old hardware store, heard the creaks in the floor, and even found the small size container of Woolite that I haven't been able to find at the chain grocery or even at the super stores. Very good poem, Susan!
Posted 04/11/2014 09:27 AM
oh! this takes me back to the village store 'a ball's throw' from our house! so good. truly the good ole days.
Posted 04/11/2014 07:50 AM
I remember that store, Susan, and o how I miss it--good poem! Sharon Auberle
Posted 04/11/2014 07:27 AM
Ross Kightly:
A marvel and wonder that takes me back to childhood in an Australian country town. As for the 'steel-clad megamart' or DIY shop - we are talkin' Purgatory there! Everything packaged and dangling, taunting mute enigmas all, and usually nobody who can explain the difference between grommet and an aglet! Such a collection of apposite images - thank you Susan and Jayne!
Posted 04/11/2014 05:48 AM

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