The Restorer

Done with mortise and tenon,
linseed oil and wax,
she stands back from the highboy
to snap a photograph with her phone,
all the while, defending a shim
to absent interlocutors
who have, admittedly, 
never seen her work	
and died three hundred years ago.


A vacant hour
before the sun—
and with it a valve's 
pneumatic hush,
the deep and nautical
clunk of wood,
chanson du ricochet
of rivet gun,
trowel tap,
and bolt drawn—

the moon sets
and water breaks.

Curled within
a warm pleroma,
playing for time,
you finally turn
and push your face
toward November's 
glint of frost,
grains of salt,
weak clarities 
of dawn.

Fixed Interval

When he turns fifteen, you'll be fifty-four.
When he turns thirty, you'll be sixty-nine.
This plain arithmetic amazes more
than miracle, the constant difference more
than mere recursion of father in son.
If you reach eighty, he'll be forty-one!

The same sun wheels around again, the dawn
drawn out and hammered thin as a copper sheet.
When he turns sixty you'll be gone.
Compacted mud, annealed by summer heat,
two ruts incise this ghost-forsaken plain
and keep their track width, never to part or meet.

Related Poems

Photo of Home From Home

I used to leave this granite house 
after everyone else was asleep, 
and, walking down the hill, come to the 
woods just behind you snapped 
this photo, old friend, who think I can bear 
to look at it.

The full moon loomed so close 
I'd think I could reach out and gather it 
into folds, until I noticed 
one star fallen out of the side, 
blinking to know where it was, 
dead probably, by then, or now.

One night when I was seven 
I stood in the dining room, staring 
at the decanter on the drinks cart 
shining like fool's gold, its liquor smelling 
of honey and rosin, belly flat 
as mother's breast
as she lay back to sleep beside me.

Later, I caught the moon, 
through the dormer window nearest the spot 
this photo was taken, a crescent 
chunk of old ice.