She asks about my nut driver,
voltmeter, needlenose plier.
She, the orchid; I, the stake.
What is it about a man with tools?
She’s undressing my soul in her mind
which I hope is prettier than my body.
She, the student; I, the handyman
in an apartment near the Stanford campus
as I replace the baseboard heater.
An offer of tea, Morning Thunder she calls it.
Two mugs. Our eyes meet
over swirling steam of caffeine.
I’m an archeological specimen,
carbon-dated by the golden
hippie-style band on my finger.
With designer hair and boutique denim
she’s clothed in casual wealth. A coed
with father issues could be good luck
for a guy with tools and a pickup truck
but let’s protect the child
seeming grown, seeming wild.
The new heater has not a scratch, not a scuff.
“This’ll keep you warm,” I say.
– Joe Cottonwood