After Striving

I think of my father’s one-room woodshop,
how his business sign eventually blew over
beside apple trees and blueberry bushes.

At church, men would ask, Staying busy?
He hated that question, and kept adding logs
to the stove and sanding doors.

There was a time I’d stare at the grass in September
and not think about the push mower.

When work is over, I find his skin. His hips
metronome while rinsing plates like it’s joy
he’s practicing. We relearn simple math like dance,
because how long have we been striving
and what has work numbed?

Copyright © 2023 by Corrie Lynn White. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 25, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.