Skip to content →

The Shipfitter’s Wife

I loved him most

when he came home from work,

his fingers still curled from fitting pipe,

his denim shirt ringed with sweat,

smelling of salt, the drying weeds

of the ocean. I’d go to where he sat

on the edge of the bed, his forehead

anointed with grease, his cracked hands

jammed between his thighs, and unlace

the steel-toed boots, stroke his ankles

and calves, the pads and bones of his feet.

Then I’d open his clothes and take

the whole day inside me—the ship’s

gray sides, the miles of copper pipe,

the voice of the foreman clanging

off the hull’s silver ribs. Spark of lead

kissing metal. The clamp, the winch,

the white fire of the torch, the whistle,

and the long drive home.

from SmokeFind it in the library

Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2000
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.

Published in Dorianne Laux Poems

Comments

Leave a Reply

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.