HomeSouthern VoiceMy Grandfather’s Exhibit

My Grandfather’s Exhibit

by John Davis Jr. 

He called that barn wall full of tools
he knew he’d never use again his museum:

Rusted ice tongs, missing-tined pitchfork,
cattle brand for his cowless farm,
an awl with bits gone brown in their dusty box.

When work aged into a relic, he padlocked
it all and left the dark to do its job –
to blind those items, to make them forget his hands.

After he passed, we unfastened the hasp
and cast a rectangle of morning
over his cache of labor, his hold.

Thinned by neglect, they hung and rested still,
their heads and hinges crumbling with release.


John Davis Jr. is the author of Hard Inheritance (Five Oaks Press, 2016), Middle Class American Proverb (Negative Capability Press, 2014) and two other volumes of poetry. His poems have previously appeared in Nashville Review, The American Journal of Poetry, The Common Online and in other venues internationally. He holds an MFA from the University of Tampa. Read his past poems in Deep South here

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