A Place For Everything

by Louis Jenkins

It's so easy to lose track of things. A screwdriver, for
instance. "Where did I put that? I had it in my hand just a
minute ago." You wander vaguely from room to room,
having forgotten, by now, what you were looking for,
staring into the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror... "I
really could use a shave..."

Some objects seem to disappear immediately while others
never want to leave. Here is a small black plastic gizmo
with a serious demeanor that turns up regularly, like a
politician at public functions. It seems to be an "integral
part," a kind of switch with screw holes so that it can be
attached to something larger. Nobody knows what. This
thing's use has been forgotten but it looks so important
that no one is willing to throw it in the trash. It survives
by bluff, like certain insects that escape being eaten because
of their formidible appearance.

My father owned a large, three-bladed, brass propeller that
he saved for years. Its worth was obvious, it was just that it
lacked an immediate application since we didn't own a boat
and lived hundreds of miles from any large bodies of water.
The propeller survived all purges and cleanings, living, like
royalty, a life of lonely privilege, mounted high on the
garage wall.

Just Above Water

Last updated April 01, 2023