Common Things

On our first morning in the house
our new home not yet cold
from its last abandonment
we tiptoed on our thin young legs
down to the cool cellar
heavy with the scent of stone and earth
we found a workbench with a few hand saws
tinged with rust in this electric age
and on the floor a 12 pound sledge
useless      with a splintered handle
that could have easily been replaced
if anyone had cared
half way down the basement was
a heavy timbered room
about ten feet on either side
whose door barely responded
to the pull of a ten
and an eight year old
but when it did and when we groped
to find the switch
a single hanging bulb lit up
to reveal a large square chest
a room within a room
a poultry incubator six feet tall
varnished oak with frame and panel doors
drawer after drawer of wire mesh
brass hinges and latches with long thick handles
handles that pulled easily
handles cast without a care
for a bit of extra metal
handles as long as a young boy’s arm
with graceful curves to welcome the hand
and a thickening at the end
to signify nothing but the maker’s sense
of how such a simple metal piece
should look to the eye and feel to the touch
good for nothing now except
to fasten closed a wooden door
if there was something left to seal inside
good for nothing but to teach
a little boy the feel of common things
and help him understand what beauty is
© 2015 Frank Kearns

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