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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.

from MezzaninesFind more by Matthew Olzmann at the library

Copyright © 2013 Matthew Olzmann
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Matthew Olzmann Poems

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.