May 13, 2009 / Creative Writing
I watched Rebel Without a Cause on TV late one college night when I learned …
October 8, 2020
After fixing people’s teeth all day,
my father remained at his office,
alone amid dental impressions
and plaster models, etching my initials
into Sears Craftsman tools.
His painstaking labor embraced
even the slenderest of things—
WTC gleaming silvery
against the matte black of a short-arm,
two-millimeter Allen key.
Each ratchet and socket bore my name.
Conspicuously heavy, inexpertly wrapped,
the stainless steel toolbox
anchored our Christmas tree
when I was thirteen. Today, like a gift
news of the Sears bankruptcy
brings all this back. Now fifty,
and sentimental, I lift the dinged-up lid
to inventory what remains
of my father’s handiwork among
the hodgepodge of intervening years.
If you loan someone your tools
he told me, forget ever seeing them again.
Volunteer to help instead.
Some days I forget I’ll never
see my father again. Gone into death,
he lingers, for a time,
in the graven lines of my name.
Todd Copeland is the author of the narrative nonfiction book The Immortal Ten, and his poems have appeared in the Journal, High Plains Literary Review, Southern Poetry Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Sewanee Theological Review, Dalhousie Review, and Columbia Poetry Review, among other publications. A native of Ohio, he resides in Waco, Texas.