table stakes

he, five watches
He, thirty-nine
working a piece of wood
on a lathe

soon to be
part of a table leg –
the smell of friction-burnt
wood,
careful distance-keeping,
and wide eyes taking in

this was how
his Father communicated –
working while
keeping up an ongoing monologue
to no one in particular

the power to do
so many things,
to change things in their
very essence into
something permanent;
never understood by
childish eyes and heart

but admired

he was there when
He picked up four pieces
of wood that had fallen
in the forest nearby;
watching them now transformed…

the house is gone

the lathe, who knows where –

his Father dead and incinerated —

but the scent of communication
lives in nostrils not yet dimmed
by time’s corrosive atrophy

what has he learned?

what have i learned?

why has he not made his world
better through
the work of his hands?

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