The Green Shed

Published in Blueline, 2001



I built the shed
out of the old boathouse
which was falling down
It’s small
you couldn’t lie down in it
ten penny nails for hooks

there’s a broom
two extension cords, one black, stiff
one yellow

an old pipe cutter
I use to cut lead posts
I pound in the sand
to hold the dock

water skis
boat cushions
one stamped with a red dolphin
the color smears off on wet bathing suits

a cylinder and crank shaft I use as an anchor
all rusted
the stainless steel cylinder head
still shines like a mirror

coils of rope
one nylon piece over 50 feet
I fished it out of the lake
fat as a rattlesnake
striped like an orange and black barber pole
I looked out one morning
and there was a whole tree
with this rope on it
floating past

old life vests
once orange, now sun-bleached
almost beige
their guts
hanging out

brightest are the gas cans
red plastic
with yellow nozzles

there’s a rod and reel
both broken
a fist-sized fishline tangle
I don’t even fish

discarded shirts
torn into rags
one says “Bazooka Joe”

chain saw wrench
canoe paddles
baseball hat spattered with
green paint
the color of the shed

rusted paint tray, Frisbee,
foot pump
deflated swim raft
galvanized bucket
rusted keys on a ring

little inner tube
about a foot across
that refuses to go flat

all rusted
tree saw, back saw, hand saw
a bent, dull screw driver
with a wooden handle
worn smooth