Poem for Wordle #24
I always wanted to follow, secretly see what “off to work” meant.
Straining from the sofa, mother holding me still to comb my hair,
your silent face turned from a kiss, leaving, no expression, tan
overalls fading down our cobbled street. Fearfully watching, “why can’t I go?” whispered in steam on the window pane, your truck disappears
in a rumble of shifting gears, adventure, blue-black smoke.
But at night, with the 8 O’clock church bell, in your big chair, in blue glow,
it became clear. I sat in your lap and knew, by the hard hewn hands
that held me, what it all meant. Clued by the myriad white lines of your nails,
my fingers traced the cracks and cuts of your fingers, followed
the roadmap into your day. “Construction” you would say, for maybe
the thousandth time, “rough on the hands.” I looked into your eyes to see
the color of truth. Brown. “What did you make today, daddy?” Silence. Another sip. “10-story building. Downtown.”
Aah! All the color a 5-year-old needed to fill in logic, to join the dots of distance! All as you steadied beams, alone in a crew, the strongest, eyes protected from sparks, a half circle of plastic shielding your sun-scorched face. And again, you, the bravest, caution signs all around, moving
fearlessly, boring the orange-white flame through blue steel shanks,
another floor, a dozen grey beams, pouring white concrete mid-air,
building stories to remember what was lost.