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Hardware is Magic
Joe Cottonwood


Hardware is magic
only wizards can work.
Molly bolts that fold and … sproing.
Chain goes clank. Pulleys go squeak.
Eye bolts, can they see?
Faucet handles like fingers of porcelain.
Tiny springs from ballpoint pens.
Big springs from who-knows-what.
Ornate doorknobs to open a mystery.
Spark plugs. Radiator caps. Just add car.
U-bolts, aren’t they cool?
Wing nuts, perhaps they’ll fly.
Cleats for string. Cotter pins … for what?
Accumulated these fifty years
in coffee cans, cigar boxes, in jelly jars
for some purpose I knew would come.
Now my grandson, here.
I can see in your eyes you are ready.
For you, cheerful wizard.
Make magic.

© by Joe Cottonwood.
Used here with the author’s permission.


Joe Cottonwood is a semi-retired contractor with a lifetime of small jobs repairing homes. He lives with his high school sweetheart under redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California caring for curly-haired dogs and straight-haired grandchildren. His latest book is Foggy Dog: Poems of the Pacific Coast. Learn more at







Post New Comment:
Lori Levy:
Like the humor in this poem.
Posted 06/14/2019 03:24 PM
Good one!!!
Posted 06/14/2019 09:15 AM
"Sproing" is my favorite word in this excellent poem, Joe. Wonderful job of describing (my) old, dusty, dank and often greasy basement workshop. This is a great "curiosity" poem. Thank you.
Posted 06/14/2019 08:19 AM
Larry Schug:
The magic is in these words.
Posted 06/14/2019 07:36 AM

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