Shawn McLain The 2River View, 8.4 (Summer 2004)

Father’s Wood Shop

A vice grip, saw blade, T-handle wrench, flat head nails, an electric screw-
          driver; you gave your get-list to me, an unfurnished maker preparing

In the dim, what a sawdust-filled scene your shop was, exponential shaved mounds
          of wood; your work whittled down until it proved past perfection

You told me a good carpenter hides his mistakes, like that missing nail
          that caused a shaky shelf; the foundation, you contended, was intact

And that split plank on a stone sander was worked too far, the tree bark broken
          again; fashioned against the grain, failed, tossed to the scrap heap

In a corner gap, an air vent hole, a drilled-too-deep screw, a cracked pipe
          fitting; you put plaster or cement in the seams, where it could barely be seen

I would ask why not measure twice, cut once; you told me this was how
          you learned; this was how to work, to frame with human hands

That cold air I still feel, maybe from a windy-night crevasse, or an uncaulked
          piece of wood frame; it floats near the base of every sawdust stack you made

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