on the page magazine
issue no. 12 summer/fall 2005
shared spaces



by Linda Wojtowick

So it occurred to him that he could
use a hammer for the job, which previously
he did not consider.
He had a lot of fancy tools in the shed
and he felt stubborn about them.
But since his divorce he longed to become
familiar once again with objects around him.
It is in deep humiliation, he thought,
that a man discovers his resources, his reserve.

The work was difficult and time went slowly.
He felt his shoulders struggling with the angle.
Pieces of the wall fell around his feet.
By the time the vague smells of dinner
filled the block his hands burned.
He had a bright red cough.
And he could not stop the naïve thought
that with all his average comforts he could not use
the simplest thing.

The day was waning. New shadows
plucked at his eyes. He felt humbled, afraid.
But then his neighbors might save him, revive him
with their kind thoughts. Like sun dogs
they bellied into his fantasy,
bright casseroles of distraction, arms pushing
through his bent screens: Why he is no stranger,
no sadder than I am.

Linda Wojtowick lives in Portland, Oregon, where she indulges her film habit without restraint.

Ed. note: this poem first appeared in our summer 2003 issue.

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