By 9 a.m. the small lot fills

with cars and vans and pick-ups, and those

in jeans and T-shirts, overalls

stride past the new mowers, glazed pots in their rows,


keep entering this flat-roofed place

before another work week begins,

this place of beige brick and paint signs, to praise

the tools and bow their heads over the bins


of shining bolts and screws and nails

for whatever their crisis, needed repair,

to silently search for pliers and drills

in a different kind of faith and prayer


before they must return once more

to classroom, factory, office, or field,

keep entering that plain glass door

to fix their plumbing sins, be healed.



Elise Hempel has had poems appear in numerous journals, including Poetry, Measure, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Midwest Quarterly, Verse Daily, Poetry Daily, and Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. She is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Literary Award and the winner of the 2015 Able Muse Write Prize in Poetry, the 2016 String Poet Prize, and the 2017 No Chair Press Chapbook Contest. She has three chapbooks, and her full-length collection of poems, Second Rain, was published by Able Muse Press in 2016.

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