I heard a carpenter speak lovingly of heart pine,
as if it were a woman he desired from a distance.
He described an old building coming down, full
of heart lumber. "Beams wide as this," he stretched
his hard hands out a foot or more and smiled.
He had stripped the building in his mind,
the old plaster falling away from the wispy lathing,
studs gone to splinter under the wrecker's hammer,
until underneath, deep in the old structure, standing
exposed the first time in a century, beams of heart pine.
What if that other heart were made of wood, the faint
knocking we hear in our chests, hard hammers the blood
brings down against our ribs? The wood within
me might be heart pine, a wood that lasts a century.
Like this working man's desire, pull me body deep,
toward what stands, the beauty of good construction.
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