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Stephen Anderson


No easy task this
Cleanup of basement workbench

Full of multifarious clutter,
Dusty mementos of hand-me-downs

The real chore is in tossing the
Handmade tools my father

Crafted as a machinist under
The final shadows of WW II

And the scraped-up pale-blue tackle box
Full of Lazy Ikes, Bombers, Jitterbugs,

River Runt Spooks, and
Hula Poppers.

A simple matter on the surface
But what’s not seen is

The slippery thought of
Letting go of steel craft and memories,

Lovingly bequeathed as if
They were brothers whose being

I’m now releasing like unwanted
Fish, letting them drop from my hands

To the trash bin below, letting them go
While I suppress a traitor’s smile,

Great Judas at the workbench, son
Who is not much more than an ingrate

Who will probably keep only the tackle box
In the end.

This poem first appeared in Fox Cry Review, 2009.
Used here with the author’s permission.

Stephen L. Anderson is a Milwaukee-based poet whose work has appeared in various print and online journals. His poetry touches on both regional and global themes, the latter due to the fact that he spent two years in the Peace Corps in Chile, lived and worked in London, England for a year, and is married to a woman from Trinidad & Tobago, long considered his second home. His muse has relentlessly pursued him since at least 2000, so far in a vain attempt to wrench him away from his work as a psychotherapist in private practice. His chapbook, The Silent Tango of Dreams, was published in 2006.

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