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For the Next Task, I Turn From the Bench


with one hundred bronze clench nails

in a wide mouth mason, the bucking iron's
finger gap smooth upon my hand,

the ball-peen longing for its sway, to meet

each nail's head gently, to send the slender
tooth into its bread, whereupon the head

is backed by weighted hand, that the tapered

spike may be driven in reverse, the soft-tapping
slow dance of the working bend,

that the golden nail may re-enter

the wood from which it came, & holdfast
two strakes together, that the many

may share a single name.


Matthew Nienow

Southwest Review

Volume 98, Number 2


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