portion of the artwork for Iris Litt's poem

The Handyman
Iris Litt

There’s nothing signed with my name

but when the northwind drives the southslanting rain
against that porch
no rain comes in

the squirrels look wistfully into that chimney through mesh

and four miles east of here
the blind behind of one row house in that interminable row
has an eye.

That is my part.
If a blind boy sits at that window
it has nothing to do with my art.

If I keep on living still nothing will be signed with my name
but the houses shall raise new chimneys to the sky
and put down new stoops into earth
(yes, I have marked your words that someday
someone will break his neck on that stoop)

and the trains shall bow their heads and go around the houses
and the terraces bloom
and the gutters, leaders and downspouts
sprout like brown vines in the luxuriant jungle of House.

Looking deep into that stairwell
they shall know my face

For He
made the world
but I
patch spackle frictiontape newspaperstuff
gumlabel staple tack caulk and sometimes hold-with-bare-hands
it together,
save it from wet, termite, char, old age
and the original sin of incompetence.
I, like Him, should have been tacked up there
but on a network of 2x4’s
with a fine assortment of mollys screweyes carpettacks and plain man’s nails
through me

for I, too, am free with a freedom
that goes far beyond the advantages of being self-employed.
I patch up, build outward, build upward layer upon layer.

That is my part.
If a man in a wheelchair lives three flights up
it has nothing to do with my art.


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 52 | Fall/Winter 2018