Box of Many Connectors

                  (a love poem)

The single driver dropping his tackle box
never saw it bounce out from the pickup
he careened in, quick along the interstate
without looking back.  You surely risked
your legs in that fast lane, parked like broken down,
dodging commuters drunk on bitter coffee,
late for work.

It held no bills or bonds or even fancy
fishing lures (those, we might have used
in those young days) but carriage bolts, matching
nuts, electrical contacts, plugs, springs,
plumbing parts male and female, washers,
lynchpins, picture wire, sheetrock screws
rusty nails (still straight), and enough flux
for any bottomless future of broke pipes.

Soon we added ours: the extra hinge,
spare Christmas bulb, sandpaper scrap,
solder, and screw eyes for long-necked hooks
on doors that tend to slam in winter wind.
It’s heavy now and hard to close despite
the latch that locks it shut like pursed lips,
stops it dumping the grungy contents out.

Dimpled from the knocks outside and in,
and dense, like ballast in some vessel cutting
waves and wind to reach an unmapped shore,
it likely will not bounce again, a quarter
century since you grabbed it from the road.
We will likely keep on stowing parts
against some breakage we cannot predict.

(But if it fell, open, needed sweeping
out of filings from its tumbling screws
and sorting of the random junk it holds,
we could not repack it, would not try.
We would, instead, pick out the useful stuff,
chuck the rest, leave room for newer hardware
keeping the box that’s proved itself secure.)

We drop them in, our extras:  the slightly bent,
the half-consumed, the not-quite-right, the close.
They fall among the rest, mismatched, knicked
detritus we have found along our road
to fill the awkward spaces with spare parts,
as infrastructures crumble and leak throughout,
and we will need to stop light going out.

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