The sound of pounded
nails rattles cups
on tables at the outdoor cafe. Men work,
hung with the apron of their trade,
its tools, lifting themselves
onto the lattice of wooden bones
toward what they build in the sight
of breakfast eaters after 9 a.m.
I'm one, too hot even in the early sun
of late October, watching two men,
no longer young, balance a board in place
between them, easy as habit, nails hit like homers.
This making with the hands: as though my pen,
swung in an arc, travels toward an honest thing.
Often, women have been said to make what perishes.
If I'd been the mother of Euripides,
would I have written tragedies
instead of selling vegetables to pay the rent?
What comes from what? I'd chorus with the Trojan women.
Who preserves? Fire
into fire. A hard day's hammering
this board, this thought, this possibility.
Peggy Aylsworth's poetry has
appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Ars Interpres
(Sweden), Laurel Review, Zone, and numerous other journals throughout the U.S.