My grandfather creates clocks, grandfather
clocks, and it seems unpoetic now though it used to seem ironic
and canny, before I knew what irony was, before I’d read Freud
and swore off meat and milk on Mondays for the boys
out to war. He converted his daughter’s doll room into a clock
repair shop, gears and glass faces spilling out of wooden
buckets and onto the nicked counter. For his only daughter,
grown and gone; the room had been filled with houses
he’d carved by the light of a single finicky lightbulb
on the patio, where his wood shavings collected in a soft
carpet that the dog liked to sleep in.
Unexpectedly, he called his daughter one day,
intercepting her argument with the dry-cleaner,
and asked if she would like to own the dollhouses.
Dad, she said, half an eye on the racks,
the craftsmanship is amazing and people pay a boatload
for homemade wooden toys these days.
You should really try to sell them.