Peggy Aylsworth


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.

and abroad.



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