Arts + Scene » Poetry

Waiting for Glue to Dry

for woodworkers on the North Coast



You may think you've built something,
but those nails only shoulder their way
among the fibers like a splitting wedge.
And screws are not much better even
if you pre-drill, their heads bald and cleft
or clumsily hidden with putty or a dowel.

So you buy the best wood glue there is,
spread it carefully on the joint, then clamp.
Then your awkwardness ends for awhile,
and a far more cunning craftsman works.
Out in the shop, the power tools silent,
hand tools still, lights off, he works.

He does the part your skills can't manage,
and in a crack so narrow you'd never be
able to maneuver your fasteners at all.
And yet, without a sound or audience,
he does his work well, while you doze off,
thinking vaguely of the mistakes you made.


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