Cabinet Maker by Jacob Lawrence
Fingers skilled, fingering a try-square
to measure a clean board edge.
Clawhammer, common nail put aside,
the cabinetmaker concentrates, his eye
trained to make a lidded chest
of polished woods: birch, cherry, oak,
the slotted screwdriver prepared
to turn a slotted wood screw. Calm as wood
the maker, wise to the old ways
of C-clamp, cabinet hinge, chest handle.
Time has honed, generations burnished
his high craft, his ken of wood, the way
he cuts straight and true. In his turn,
death will cut him down. The work endures.
Priscilla Long is a writer of poetry, essays, creative nonfictions, fictions, science, and history. She has an MFA degree from the University of Washington and teaches writing.
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