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Glazing a Window

As usual, when I begin
I feel as if I don't
know what I'm doing
and have to learn it all
over again, and sure enough
on my very first pane

the size and shape of a page,
the blade of the putty knife
pulls the ribbon of soft
glazing compound right
off the strip of trim I'm
trying to press it into.

I start again, and then
again, and eventually
get into a rhythm, making
small adjustments as I go
and taking pleasure in
the way the knife blade

compresses the putty
into a smooth bevel
while its sharp edge cuts
a clean line against the glass,
the excess curling away;
and I move from pane

to pane, still making
mistakes, of course, but
emending them as best
I can while trying not
to lose my focus, trying
to get into a groove

and stay there. And when
I'm done, I wipe away
my smudged fingerprints
so my labor doesn't show
and the window glistens
with the day's reflection.

Jeffrey Harrison


Number 13 - 2017

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