"Hands, Nails, Singing" - Griffin Hamstead

"Hands, Nails, Singing" - Griffin Hamstead

After all these years
still rang the buzz
saw in his iron ears
still sang the blow
torch the song of
welding, whirring not
withstanding the strength
of once-calloused two
hands his greatest tool
and now his only
oath a bowl of mill
oats sat comfortably
his lap, his ass upon
his now new-clean work
bench, condition: used.

His hat hung up upon
the doorway, checked
out when his fingers
trembled, his feeling
troubled, his feeling mind-
muddled, his dear wife
kind-cuddled, yet she
face-to-back, his eyes
glass and out against
the window where rain
whistled, pitter-pitter-pat
-ting the pocket protecting
his keys, the key of them
marked by a ruby-red
rubber seal to the
gateway he had locked
himself out of.

Now, returned, a turn
to take once more
he looks, glances at
a room once more than
taking-up garage space.
His cracked-tobacco paws
glide across crumbling wall
gently, firstly, then pause
to grip the faded toy
hammer, given as his first,
then burst his boxed-in
heart, memories of every
sculpted part of many
monumentos de madera
hecho por manos, los miles.

A smile rises, se risa
his hands now clasped
eight nails, four boards
two-by-four under arm
-ed by a hammer:
1. grandfather clock, not his
2. bookshelf, oak, not his
3. coffee table, dark, not his
4. projects tabled, his
5. never able perfect, him
6. crib, a child, never his
7. playground fort, no longer his
8. lay plain forgotten, his
crafts outweighing always
his craft, now picks up the
frame, hangs it upon an un-
used wall nail and places
neatly in the center a ruby
-red key, and walks, step-
by-backwards-step, eyes
not shutting for even a
moment, shutting the door.

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