Sean Lause: “Walls”


My father guides
the power saw blade
like a skilled surgeon,
while I hold the wall panel
steady, steady, its edges
nearly at my eyes.

The air is dazzled with sawdust
that floats, swirls, then pollinates
my father’s crew cut.  I picture
poppies blooming there,
unfolding dreams.  My fingers
tingle a thrill through my bones.

My father says nothing,
as silent as the bones
that build his strength.
The sawdust scent is sweet.
His hands are big as hunger.

The house stands up wall by wall
and glistens in the sun.  Walls nailed
tight to protect and hide.  At night,
deep in sleep, my body still hums
to that distant, bitter blade.

Sean Lause is a professor of English at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio.  His poems have appeared in Minnesota Review, Alaska Quarterly, Another Chicago Magazine, Pedestal, Beloit Poetry Journal, Sanskrit, Illuminations, Arsenic Lobster, and Poetry International.  He has published two books of poems, Bestiary of Souls (FutureCycle Press, 2013) and Wakeful Fathers and Dreaming Sons (Orchard Street Press, 2018).

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