The order of things

The order of things

The order of things

On my haunches on the garage floor, aged eight

My father’s oil-grained hand reaches out from under the car

I place a bright chrome wrench in his outstretched palm

No, not that one, not yet!  He can tell by the feel –

No, I need the three-eighth Whitworth!

Its heavy maw hints at gas pipes of old

pitted and dull it is, of forged black steel

a tool of experience and forgotten provenance

that he might have grubbed from his own father

had he known him.

I should have known my father by then

I had been there at the dismantling

seen the order of things, watched their every turn

heard each frightful oath uttered with bloody intent

knuckles and metal in permanent contradiction.

In charge of his instruments,

I should have had them in order of need, however dull

and not gleaming, in my dreamer’s way.

I have that spanner now, handed down

it reminds me of him; and the order of things.

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