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Personal Stories

Mike's New Drill

By: Deborah Thomas

Mike’s new drill won’t run
because I lost the charger
somewhere in the mess I left
in the garage, and he is gone now
waiting for me to find it. Mostly,
when I want to find something I’ve lost
I can find only the things I was looking for
a while ago and didn’t find; the missing hat,
the set of markers I have already replaced,
the baby’s shoe, by now, too small.

I must have set aside the odd black box,
like something from a plane crash,
holding all the necessary information,
but just gone, no way to power anything.
In my mind, I see it vividly, but without a setting
out of sequence, clear as a snapshot
of the Eiffel tower, falling from a yellowed book,
with no clues as to which trip it was taken on,
or who was holding what camera, or who put down
the book before they finished.

When I am reminded of the drill’s name,
one small red insignia embedded against solid black,
it said , “Ryobi”. Suddenly I know I had been
thinking about Africa, pondering Nairobi
maybe even Gobi, when I set it down. And now,
when he hopes patiently that I keep looking
for the black box, it is true. I sit here, rifling
through my words, searching for the place
that came before Nairobi.

9/11/04