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Poetry: "East Wood"

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The holiday season is a time many of spend with family, and with memories of family, as we hear in the words of Milwaukee poet Jenny Benjamin.


My dad, makeshift through and through,
fashioned “catch-alls” out of manila folders strapped
to car-visor flaps. He buttressed broken furniture legs with wood,
nothing a 2 by 4 couldn’t fix, he always used to say and
taught all of his kids how to tame a station wagon’s frenetic
butterfly valve with an ink pen
or stave off jammed motor blades
with a pick-up stick game.

Dad was 70s crafty with paneled planks of wood lining the sectioned
basement, corner bedroom, pool table, shag carpeting, valor couch,
shimmering under strobe lights like bioluminescent fish bottom-feeding.
So years later, after his death,
when his crèche, hammered slightly askew, wears his penned
writing of 152 E. Wood Street on the underside of baby Jesus, Mary,
Joseph, the three wise men, shepherd, and each sheep or donkey,
I am overcome by the care he took in me and
my whole family. As such, should one member of the nativity spin aloft
on an unruly wind, past suburbs, small towns, rural sprawls of corn, it
could be found again and delivered home.

Milwaukee poet and writer Jenny Benjamin is author of the novel, This Most Amazing, and a young adult trilogy currently up for nominations through the Kindle Scout program.