Workman’s Comp


Wood won’t work the same if it’s raining,
its pores swell and open,

fish eyes bubble paint.
Machines taint texture,

that cabinet would be as any other if it weren’t
for his color, the mix of terra cotta

and burnt umber, a hint of metallic
powder in its base. He believes in sand

paper and cigarettes, in brush strokes
stippled with patience. Some days

the wood is as troublesome as his temper,
he swears it gets smoother the more you work

it through. One summer he showed me how
to hold a rasp between my fingers,

whet wood boxes until they were ready
to stain. He believes in building his own

kingdom, says no creation is simple,
saves for rainy days.