He runs his hand over pine
boards, propped against a sawhorse.
Determined to build
his own coffin,
he measures, scribes,
pauses to breathe, positions the saw.
I stand at the window,
wrapped in worry.
How quickly he’s gone frail.
Slowly, as I watch him bend
to the rhythm,
the back and forth of the blade,
he seems to gain
in strength and ease,
to move as though
familiar again with pleasure.
For one moment
in the pebbled yard, damp and greening
from yesterday’s rain,
it’s an April day like any other,
he’s a man with a hand-drawn blueprint,
a pencil tucked behind his ear,
doing what he loves on a Saturday morning—
building something new.
—From “Seaworthy,” @ 2018 River Rock Books