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I remind myself
that I like to work with my hands,
the occasional weekend Bob Vilas,
the ideal Home Depot customer,
plunking down
a credit card
like a full house
and raking in the chips
of faucet strainer,
dimmer switch,
and smooth brass
bathrobe hook.

This time
I’m ripping up old linoleum,
making way for the new
stone that a true professional
will lay the next week (we hope)--
I am proud of the tool
I have fashioned
from a broad chisel and
old yellow broom handle--
a weekend hunter’s spear of sorts--
it goes chunk-a-chunk
as it’s rammed under the vinyl,
parsing the old glue
from the plywood beneath.

In the sweat of that satisfying afternoon,
it does not matter
that I forgot to wear
the leather gloves
or the painter’s mask
that holds the dust at bay--
I’m into the rhythm of the chunk-a-chunk,
stacking pieces of broken tile
in a box,
inching slowly toward the far wall.

Later, it matters
the blisters on the palms of my hands break
and I cannot hold or touch another tool--
I wear gloves to hide the Band-Aids
and write gingerly with a pen held loosely
in my fingers.

11 Mar 00

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