The smell of engine oil, metal, of galvanized nails
lined up in bins with a hanging scale
and stacks of paper bags, not the plastic boxes,
and reels of chains in all different sizes.
My favorite: the key machine, with all those blanks
hanging, waiting to be carved to fit your lock, and your lock, and ours.
So much to look at and touch and imagine over,
the forts that could be built using parts from the hardware store
even a whole new house
not our broken hand-me-down with its root
cellar for a basement, stone foundation,
the rotting wooden window sashes,
the layers of old wallpaper over plaster and lathe
the mice in the walls and bats in the corners of our rooms.