Carpenter means Jesus—his hands to splinters, a bench to sand
and rub smooth corners from the tree’s needle skin to build a boat.
I want to follow Christ, but where? To a threshold—a place to marry,
a pulpit where the preacher sweats, a precipice, the last land seen
as others wave, that boat sails out, good-bye? Tangle and strap
are words for my husband shaving, and also the sound of gardens.
Tangle is a thicket, the strap is pruning shears—he cuts for me a rose.
Whorl is a bud’s coil like my fingerprint; there’s wind on the sea.
I’ve decided to sail in my nightgown glowing like the snow tonight.
I want to follow the flume where it juliennes, let myself be narrowed
though it means going alone—my feet jumping stone to stone, water walk.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.