Some shavings of Fausto Medina, carpintero.
My chisels all ground fine
so that the wood won’t scream.
The saw blades keen, well oiled
to amputate the limbs of olive trees
for table legs, and willow boughs
to back-frame kitchen chairs.
Windows I’ve silled for matadors,
ladies of the night. I turned
a wooden leg for Pedro Obregon,
who lost his underneath a horse
and cart, went to sea as cook
on a shrimper sunk off Dogfish Bay.
I smell of pine, turpentine, my wife
of rosemary, so when we kiss
we scent the air around our lips.
My son went cross-eyed when he saw
our passion on the front-room floor.
He’ll grow to know about it soon.
Shavings I sell for bedding pigs,
sawdust for rough-shod bars where drink
the hopeless men come home from wars.
My trade is humble, but the linseed oil
makes my hands smooth. I said before,
my tools are sharp, wood never screams.