Oh I have studied them, where any sane
man’d just buy a box of sixteen common.
And laid them on a board, and gone to help a woman
stop sobbing, at least in such deadly, gulping pain.
You can’t hammer a bent nail flat again,
but you can estimate its ways, and summon
a good join somehow, if joinery’s your demon.
Why that’s better than store-bought I can’t explain.
By main sweat you make a tight floor, a roof appear.
It isn’t enough. Things stink, her dreams have dirty
feet, and ticks fatten behind the baby’s ear.
This is the last nail. Do you hear
how these eleven years out of our twice thirty
sing under the hammer, how the tune changes gear?
© Jack Butler