By Increments

By Anna Ross

This rectangular wood block,
with slanted throat to allow the iron
and wedge, the sole open-mouthed
to let what is shaved through,

the end a map of names.
Griffiths Norwich, manufacturer,
then each owner: H. Hayward,
A. Hayward, J. Hayward, J. Flatt,
casting back

to things hand-fashioned, smoothed.
Like the single-engine Fly Baby
your grandfather built, piece by piece,
in the living room.

First the wooden fuselage—
tail reaching into the hall, open cockpit—
then each wing. Canvas stretched tight
across the bones and painted white.
Sundays at the beach,

how close he seemed,
in thick glass goggles and leather helmet,
gliding over a great lake
to wave down at you on the sand.

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