The Net

Someone left a typewriter
One time last year, at the place where I work
it ended up in the office, so I wrote a note
explaining that I would take it if no one claimed it
I put it in a closet at home, after playing with it once,
then didn’t think of it again until Christmastime

A couple of Sunday-morning regulars—they know
I like to write—for a while they would bring
one of my stories each week
to read before opening their newspapers or novels

Christmas Eve fell on Saturday so
they came a day early
ordered their coffees then presented me
with a small gift that I held uncomfortably, wondering
Should I open it now, or wait until they’re out of sight?

I went ahead, curiosity winning over courtesy,
tore the green gift-wrap from the package—a
box that opened to reveal a pencil
and pen—a refillable ball-point
Up to that point, I did most of my writing
on a computer or with fine-tipped disposables
the kind that leave a stain on the page or my shirt
when I am forced to visit the dreamworld
to find my next line

Trying out the new pen for the first time
I remembered so many scribbled pages from childhood
attempts to write a new life for myself or my family
written with old ball-points that inevitably ran out of ink,
tore the page when I tried to force the last drops out

I took the messy pages two doors down
where Grandma let me use her typewriter
I clicked the heavy keys with only one finger from each hand
until she insisted that I go home, she would finish for me
I could come back tomorrow for the finished pages

I looked at the shiny new ball-point in my hand
thought of the typewriter in my closet
and pulled the fine-point pen from my pocket
and tossed it in the trash

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