Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry: Mr. Fix-It
Edited and introduced by Wesley McNair, Maine Poet Laureate
Poet Stuart Kestenbaum of Deer Isle is director of the Haystack School of Crafts, one of the state’s cultural treasures. His poem for this week remembers his father, a Mr. Fix-It who couldn’t.
Mr. Fix-It by Stuart Kestenbaum
My father never made anything or fixed anything, even though we had the obligatory tools in the basement, the beautiful hand drill that belongedto my great grandfather the carpenter, the once-used brushes and the mysterious cans of paint and shellac. And he never cooked anything either, never turnedthe coffee pot down to perk, never cracked an egg and only once that I remember barbecued steaks, the smoke rising to heaven like a burnt offeringfrom the charred remains. When he returned home at night, the smell of gas and oil still close to his clothes, he’d settle on the couch finishing a New York Times crossword puzzle whilekeeping track of the Yankees on TV, until he fell asleep, only to rouse when I’d change the channel. “I was watching that,” he’d mumble, though asleep, and I’d believe him, but now I think he wasn’t therebut had been at his domestic work, the night shift, dreaming the lives of his children, building a house of words, writing the perfect story whose ending we never get to.
Take Heart: A Conversation in Poetry is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2007 by Stewart Kestenbaum. Reprinted from “Prayers & Run-on Sentences,” Deerbrook Editions, 2007, by permission of Stewart Kestenbaum. Questions about submitting to Take Heart may be directed to David Turner, Special Assistant to the Maine Poet Laureate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-228-8263.