For long months I closed
and opened the odd-edged drawers
my father had built with his tense
hands, never till later wondering
how the power of his construction
had held me in a controlled awe.
How does he do this? I’d asked
myself for adolescent years unstudied,
looking at the uneven woods, bright
with paint, not knowing the lack
of finish hidden beneath an enamel shine.
Closing and opening, changing the contents
of each drawer regularly, noting them
with my exactitude, making the container
part with the contents (as if his somehow
could be made mine). Later, moving
to the sturdy reversion of cardboard boxes
and piles on a floor. Now I need nothing
of drawers: in my mind the perfection
of sleek-lined furnitures; in my life
objects amassed on open shelves.
© Alan Asnen 2019