doesn’t give a lamb’s ass if your name is Joseph
or Catherine or Tiglathpileser.
It’s like any other hand.
With sandpaper knuckles and a slender,
banana-shaped scar that hooks across its palm,
it does its work. Thankless work.
Work requiring it to manipulate the chisel and hammer
like a master percussionist—clink clink and clink
is the only music it knows—into a symphony
of Here Lies Conrad or Beloved Father,
or the occasional Wish You Were Here
into granite or white marble.
Jesus, it thinks.
Mother of God, it thinks.
Brutal work, done in the day (not night).
Nine to five. Like any other hand.
Setting down the tools. Punching out,
then digging in a pocket for quarter or keys.
Copyright © 2013 Matthew Olzmann
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.