Our father repaired typewriters, a lost art. Here is a poem recalling his shop in the basement where he let me help him when I was young.
My Father’s Tools
Leaning over typewriter frame, hands ink dark with calluses, my father reaches around type bars and brackets, levers of tempered steel, hooking a spring, placing the smallest screw with magnetized driver. He adjusts to touch, aligning letters until they flow in perfect lines, finger strike to paper.
Broken machines wait on bench with glass jars of spare parts, needle-nosed pliers worn smooth, small torch for soldering type, hooks, benders, crimpers, oil can with long nozzle, cleaning tub with black solvent.
He lets me scrub the type and pivots, bathe them in oil, wipe them dry until they shine like reborn souls. Now the typewriters are gone but I keep his tools, fixing any problem. I show my son how to grasp each one, correct angle, knowing the tool by its function. He adds his layer of fingerprints, imagining machines he will build.
Here is a video of my Poetry Flash Virtual Reading 2/28/21 with Nathalie Anderson. My sincere thanks to Joyce Jenkins and Richard Silberg for their hosting and introductions. And a shout out to Nathalie for sharing her stellar poems.
I read from my collection The Poet’s Garage along with a few more recent poems.