The round white knob
on the dresser drawer—
a pull, it’s called—is loose,
becoming unscrewed
from itself. To tighten it,
I must empty the drawer
of the clothes nobody’s ever
worn and nobody ever
will, find the screwdriver
I don’t think I’ve ever used,
or even have anymore,
with both hands, one
outside the drawer to steady
the pull and one inside
to screw it. We used to say
that all the time to joke
we’d given up: “Screw it!”
But we hadn’t. Given up
that is. Now here I am,
still at it. When I bake muffins,
bran with raisin puree instead
of sugar, I’m chapped
when no one eats them.
These details make it seem
like real life, this one spent
managing and wrangling
as much as mothering, writing
lists and e-mails instead of poems.
Home is where we stay safe
and warm, yet keep it hot
and ever wanting it
to be a beautiful story as well
as real and aware of pain,
a story where a little jumble’s
okay but things should
aim to cohere as best they can
and with that modest goal
I try to attend to things
like drawer pulls. I don’t
want it to fall off and get
lost forever. A couple twists
of the screwdriver and I can
feel how the slightly spongy
wood gives, compresses,
and now the knob is tight.
The dresser, however,
is on a bit of a slant, so
that drawer tends to fall
open on its own anyway.
Whenever I walk past it
I’m always pushing it
closed with my knee.