Poem – Papaw


I sat and watched
his tanned, wrinkled hands
(light lines appeared, beneath the sawdust
here and there
where bleeding had long since stopped).

He gripped the silent barking
but biting saw,
placed the free hand on the creamy oak block
like comfort on a heavy-burdened shoulder.
Rocked and rowed
pressed and pulled
sawed deeper
to cut away the useless
the excess
the roughness.

Now the saw remains
untouched, unmoved
like the sawdust on the floor.
How I’d give the world to see my carpenter
with scarred up hands and sawdust covered pants
once more.

For my carpenter was more beautiful to me
than a potter with his clay,
a painter with his paint,
a fisher on the lake

Carpenter, carved deep in memory.

-T.S. Reiger

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