A Salvaged Life

Crystal Neubauer -  shelleysdavies.com

Crystal Neubauer – shelleysdavies.com

In memory of Galway Kinnell 

[February 1, 1927 – October 28, 2014]

I am a thrift`store

A dusty old collection

of odds & ends the uses

for which are long forgotten

I am what was left over when

the family had the estate sale

The things people picked up

turned over in their hands

and put down again with

a huge quizzical look

upon their faces


I am a mason jar

filled with nuts & bolts

Washers & screws none

which seem to have a match

A Prince Albert tin of bent nails

the rusted auger with a broken tip

on a brace with a broken handle

A cardboard box of old fuses

the sort last used before

the arrival of breakers

and all burnt out


I am a book`shelf

full of dusty volumes

most but only half`read

dog`eared coffee`stained

Stacked not side`by`side but

helter`skelter top of each other

Henry Miller atop King James

Sylvia snuggling with Emily

with Wendell’s Sabbaths

moderating the verses

reverent & profane


I am the tackle box

with the broken hinges

Careful when you lift the lid

or you may get stuck by a lure

last seen in a jaw of a steelhead!

A reel jammed when I dropped it

A filet knife needing sharpening

My fishing license from 1985

showing I caught 50 crabs

which I have to say was

my personal best


I’m no longer half

the man I used to be

but twice the one I’ll be

a few years down the road

When you ask me who I was

I will not be able to remember

so you’ll have to put together

the story of my life out of

assorted junk you find

in this thrift`store

of a salvaged life

“To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, 

and saying, with as little concealment as possible, 

what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment.”

 ~ Galway Kinnell



About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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4 Responses to A Salvaged Life

  1. kiwiskan says:

    fabulous poem – you hit this nail right on the head!


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