The Carpenter

By Primus St. John

1 I look at my hands
In a dark hour.
They are my wife,
Another life,
Explicitly made.
I compare responsibility
To journey:
They are pitch-black
Whirling in the outside world
Left behind like a native—

2 We are older:
Toil is our long way
Back home.
It works.
Causes the space to beat
Like a heart.
It is a part of the poem
That appears
And appears on its own.
It goes on
On its own,
Mystical as evil
But, it is called freedom.

3 I’m sorry:
I was telling you about my hands.
How well we are married.
It follows,
I recognize all truth
As some part of ten.
Spirit is my thumb,
Without thumb
I would be nothing.
I have met some who believe in reason.
They have had too much wine,
Confess cause and effect—
It has been painful.

4 I told you it is unreasonable:
I guess I should say here,
I am your carpenter.
Ethnically, dark wood
Is my life.
I could show you my story better,
Then where I speak
You would hear
One more thing, my love.
I have discovered in this dark wood
A skill you have called our loneliness.
I sand it down for you
Until our bodies fall off.

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