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The Tool Shed by Kasey Jueds

The Tool Shed

by Kasey Jueds

published in Superstition Review


How can I explain the way

I kept coming back—to that box


of trapped shadows with its concrete

floor, its constant chill even


on the most blazing August days. To

the stacked cans of paint with their stuck-shut lids


like the eyes of animals burrowed

in the farthest reach of forest. To the locked-in


air trembling, dense with the chemicals

that fumed from ancient bottles of pesticides & herbicides


lining the cinderblock walls, exhaling their pure

dream of destruction into the unbending


dim. Inside that room that was never

a room, I offered my clavicles, my soft heels


pale as milkweed silk, to the trowels, the shears

dulled with rust. It wasn’t enough. And after,

outside, released into heat and the bright net

the barn swallows kept threading with their flight, the warped door


finally pulled shut behind me—even then that smell

stung my throat, my lungs, lingered in the hollows of me


like a shame I could never tell. And

after, years after, when we’d paid a man to haul


the poisons away, their scent still cleaved to corners, thrashed

its wings against the false dusk like an angel


unable to speak of the next world, weaving

her impossible life between the broken


croquet mallets, the rope strands of the hammock

meant to bear our bodies above the clamor


of summer grass. There is no away. Now, I want to say

come back there with me, though every time I stepped


into that place I was alone. And every time, the angel

receded into air so thick it could almost


claim a color. She was old and I

was young still, and still I knew


how she would cling there, how I’d

never see her, how she would never


let me go, even as I tugged the swollen door

back again into its frame, as I struggled


to make it fit, to return

the perfect darkness to itself.



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