Workbench Mourning - A Grandfather's Elegy

Samantha Segrist

after Ross Gay

I never knew you 

but I know your workbench, 

the place where my father 

kneels and traces 

the outline of a screwdriver 

over and over, 

hoping with each outline 

that you will materialize 

and ask him for a 3/8-inch wrench 

only for him to bring you 

a 7/16-inch wrench instead. 

I never knew you 

but I know my father, 

the person you 

worked so tirelessly for. 

The same shoulders shake 

as jokes tumble down them, 

sending laughter, like landslides, 

into the next generation. 

The same feet walk, 

arches weighed down with hard work 

that lightens the load 

for the next generation. 

The same ears listen 

to stories written 

with the joy and worry 

that our family knows all too well. 

These parts of you 

live on in my father, 

a place where I will someday 

kneel and trace 

his prized possessions 

so that his memory might live 

on in mine. 

It is hard to mourn someone 

you never knew, 

so instead of mourning  

that I never will, 

I am grateful to know 

your jokes, hard work, and listening nature 

live on 

in the individual kneeling 

before your workbench. 

Contributor's Note

Samantha Segrist is a senior studying Applied Communication Studies. She does not know what she wants to do with her life, but that is okay. She is deciding to trust where God will take her, because His ways are good even when they are unknown. She wants to thank her parents, her boyfriend, her friends, her dog, and her cat for everything they have done and for the people (and animals) that they are.