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For My Father

Standing at the cellar door,
arms on hips, lips pursed, angling
toward some solution beyond my ken
architraves and tessellation,
or the creation of cathedrals, all the same to me.
I watch him beveling the edges

as he teaches me to line
pine shingles the right way, wasting
precious time and knowledge
just sheltering me.

He moves in measured economy,
a man pondering, holding the absolute
of a level against the rounded body
of a boat he built in a field
behind the house he built

before he knew he might create a world
of wood, of sandstone, of silver
or, as he has done—and without implement—
forge a legacy
of the truer elements.

— For Valmar Stauffer Thompson

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