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.
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.
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.