by Mark Levine

Mark Levine

Thrift built us a shed
out back in which to stow
our set. I see a sky.
A cloud with a carpenter's hand in it.

I see a shed
an all-day affair with particle
board and steel hinges.
All of us standing at attention, feeling
-my family and I
(and I was youngest, and we were all still there)
like homeowners. Owning
a yard.

I see a fountain its
waters reeling elsewhere.

Then there were stairs to hide beneath
with the wood-destroying insects.
Look: I wasn't that young. Had
already done some of the worst moral
things, and others. Yet we stood at attention
in the shed at the end of that day among
shelves and safety hooks and nearly
marveled. There is, there is a
moment before infiltration,

I see a tool
left out in grass like a new thought
painted by night with

I didn't have to leave that place. I did.
We all left. One at a time
by different means (extractive/bitter/ceasing/yielded)
and the owned yard softened at night.
My father's assignment was:
last to go. What was that like
when they peeled him from it.
And pulled up the lawn by its handmade nails.
And found a circuit of passageways
laden with scrap. Which then was sold
rather auctioned.
As he watched, knowing
And how did he bear.

Last updated February 19, 2023