Carpenter’s Apprentice

I came across an ant today
May 5, 2012
Superfluous Son of these States
May 8, 2012

I learned today, a thing or two
Of carpentry.
It says, and I have swallowed it like air:
“Nail to wood.”
But sometimes, as the hammer curls beneath
Tightfisted palms
And nails are plucked from too-low jeans
The two cannot concur.
Is it nail to wood, direction?
Is it nail to wood, injunction?
Or have I built so many things,
The many towering things,
Caring less for how, for what lies beneath
Than how tall and monumental they stand;
Like stone.

But days pick at the splintered skin
Of my uneasy elegies in wood.
How many more days, as totters the magpie,
Before the dais falls flat, and I can no longer pretend
That I know how.

Jesus knew, but he began with tables.
I never knew, and I began with temples.


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