La poesía siempre ha sido el poder y la renovación que desplaza los limites


      —for Bruce and Ann Willis

My job this morning is to make
these C-Clamps. Alacranes,
is what Marta calls them.
Marta is the mother of the young woman

who will live in this house
with her young family. ¿Alacranes?
¿Qué son? Escorpiones.
Que pican, Marta says. I get it,

this word from nature.
I have to translate my location.
José cuts one for my template.
Steel rods. 3/16th in diameter—placed

into eight nails pounded into a mango plank,
measured so I can lay the rod in place
to bend both ways with a hand-made tool,
to make the mouth—or the C—leaving

an opening to bind two lengths of rebar.
Torque the steel rods and my back is finished.
No hardware store with a bin of clamps
to rescue me. This job pays for itself

in what it gives me—the pleasure
of knowing this house is earthquake safe.
We'll bind the rebar, lay the strengthened
steel in the hollows of concrete blocks,

fill in with mescla, cement.
It is possible to live another way.
My work is only so-so.
What Marta and José show me

all goes inside. There's a house, inside, too!
Language connects us, crosses borders
where passports divide. I'm the weak one
constructing this world, the people preparing

for other earthquakes, still building,
still unseen. Salvadorans know they're coming,
toss them off in laughter, call
for more cement from the scaffolding.

Jim Bodeen
13 April—11 May 2005

1 comment:

  1. jim i love the way the persona humbly deals with the work, it has the roughness of hands and the tenderness of heart.kjm