Making a Gate

Oppdal 01.11.2009 : Gårdssag på Engan. Foto: Thor Nielsen

My slipshod carpentry schooling scatters the porch

With minefields of pinewood splinters and dust.

A remade garden gate emerges slowly,

Hewn for sudden need—slats and bracing

Born of sweat.

The little one sits,

Obedient hands on sun-touched knees,

Eyes clear, deep as geodes, hazel,

Wondering at a father’s present work

For the father’s sake.

Shoeless feet,

Given to small toddles on the green—

Sorrel, clover, bitter wild strawberry,

Mown week to week as time allows—

Stumble now on flecks of woody shrapnel,

Flung askance from the shrieking saw-blast.

Tiny smears of blood dapple skin

Once young and perfect.

Seated tubside,

I lather soap over her wounds,

Pooling cold water in my hand.

Every touch of a toe draws her giggles.

I staunch the bleeding, but not the laughter,

Nor the humbled lump in my throat.

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