Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup


"the handiwork of old lives' patching"

Published onApr 02, 2023

Photo by Anna Chip:

On a gentle slope of close-trimmed grasses
when the sun rays, slanting, dress with shadow
the light folds of blanketing earth
is most apparent the fractured
faces of the underlying bedrock
as it shelves. This stone is general in all places,
deeper or closer as the eons have overlain it.

Here, the oldest homes have been set into it,
their basements chiseled out with hammer and pick
square and cool. We found a pie safe,
some jury-rigged shelves,
an oil furnace (top of its line for its time)
and its tank. On this, in this,

the earth’s crust cleared of sand,
loam, and dirt, dry by luck or past thoughtful
work, our foundation,
ceilinged with beams
of halved, bark-on, straight fir:
a fitting place to find
the handiwork
of old lives’ patching,

and ourselves.

Benjamin Harnett is a poet, fiction writer, historian, and digital engineer. His poetry has appeared recently in Poet Lore, Saranac Review, ENTROPY, and the Evansville Review. He is the author of the novel THE HAPPY VALLEY and the short story collection GIGANTIC. He lives in Cherry Valley, NY with his wife Toni and their collection of eccentric pets. He works for The New York Times.

No comments here
Why not start the discussion?