"I don't want to get into a debate
about the screwdriver. I admit
I lost it, and I should have told you."
As she began to slowly clap and clap,
he couldn't read the look on her face.
Underneath the dust jacket of her smile
was the bland flat colour of a hardcover
that says nothing about how the book
"deconstructs the genre of autobiography"
or "bridges the gap between fact
and fantasy". By now she surely knew
he'd lost not just the screwdriver
but the thread of their conversation.
When his bear's ears fell off
because he'd chewed them so,
his grandmother took her needle
and sewed up Teddy just in time
for cuddling after goodnight kisses.
The clapping stopped. She turned away.
Her step was soft as she left the room.
The light shining through the window
cast the shadow of a cross on the floor
and under the bed he saw a screwdriver.
It reminded him of something.
Andrew Shields lives in Basel, Switzerland. His collection of poems Thomas Hardy Listens to Louis Armstrong was published by Eyewear in 2015. His band Human Shields released the album Somebody's Hometown in 2015 and the EP Défense de jouer in 2016.