Outside the hardware store,
the display of stepladders
in red, green, yellow fiberglass,
blue and black plastic trash barrels,
and heavy steel wheelbarrows
absorbs the weather with a smile.
You want the tallest ladder to reach
the daylight moon simmering
in a marbled old-fashioned sky.
You’d hang a Christmas wreath
complete with blood-red ribbon
from a snag of creamy moon-rock
and wrap silver ropes of tinsel
right around the dark side.
I’m more eager to test-drive
the snow shovels leaning against
the rail of the wheelchair ramp.
Not enough snow to challenge
the larger scoops, though. Standing
in the dry cold while traffic
stammers along the highway,
we let the old-fashioned aura
of hardware soften us up
before we enter the store to shop
for a jagged set of drill-bits
and a handsaw cruel as the famous
serpent’s tooth. Ingratitude
doesn’t apply, though. We’re glad
this store thrives with products
so tactile, compact, and utile
that they affirm human aspects
distance like the moon’s denies.