Love Song: I and Thou

Nothing is plumb, level or square:

the studs are bowed,
the joists are shaky by nature, no piece fits

any other piece without a gap

or pinch, and bent nails

dance all over the surfacing

like maggots. By Christ

I am no carpenter. I built

the roof for myself, the walls

for myself, the floors

for myself, and got 

hung up in it myself. I

danced with a purple thumb

at this house-warming, drunk

with my prime whiskey: rage.

Oh I spat rage’s nails

into the frame-up of my work:

It held. It settled plumb.

level, solid, square and true

for that one great moment. Then

it screamed and went on through,

skewing as wrong the other way.

God damned it. This is hell,

but I planned it I sawed it

I nailed it and I

will live in it until it kills me.

I can nail my left palm

to the left-hand cross-piece but

I can’t do everything myself.

I need a hand to nail the right,

a help, a love, a you, a wife.

Alan Dugan