Thursday, October 08, 2009

Poem: "Woodwork"

Woodwork

I look, and fail, in the street
Searching for a man with hair like yours.
--Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, “I run my hand along the clean wood”

The wood to be turned into a door wedge
shows a pale grain and smells of incense.
Soft, like my palm, it keeps
the teeth marks of a vice closed too tight.
It shrinks from the metal lip of the plane.

The boy across the worktable
marks his piece with a soft pencil.
His hands, a shade darker than the wood,
handle his work as if it is a spinning top
or a Frisbee.

The workshop hums and curves
to the same drawing of a door wedge,
laminated edges fraying from past fingers.
The best mark goes
to the boy who makes the most exact copy.

Next month we work on metal.

*

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