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  • Carpenters
    By Scott Newport

    Wrinkled arms tilt
    Slightly back, elbows bent
    Outlining the perfect
    Framing square

    Aged, scaling hands
    Dangle like weighted
    Plumb- bob’s
    They sway
    With each puff
    Of wind
    Or fading breath

    Fingers curling up like
    A mottled snail
    Bent nails
    Never to be straightened

    “He’s getting older”
    Slips into my leather tool belt
    The fear of him
    Falling asleep forever
    Saws its way into my
    Nighttime prayers

    The long conversations
    We used to have
    Are now just wrinkled
    Blueprints of
    Past accomplishments

    Quiet smiles now replace
    Worn stories of past life
    When age never
    Spoke a word
    And at coffee breaks while
    Sitting on piles of lumber
    We laughed like

    When he pats me on
    The back now
    His touch lingers on my shirt
    Like the smell
    Of the first cut
    Board on a
    Frosty autumn morning

    His hearing is fading
    His sight disappearing
    The slices keep falling
    Shaving away at
    His last realities

    Yesterday we worked
    Installing cabinets-
    At the end of
    The day we put up
    Our hammers and
    He nodded

    I nodded back
    And thought of
    My son
    One measurement
    I’ll never forget
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