Cathedral

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Over time it occurs to me
I am building a shed that will burn.
Footer and sill, whatever I do
flames blue and translates to ash.
The nail shrieks as it enters the joist
and streams out, shrieks
and drips a metal tear
from the elemental eye.

What I do not know is here.
I worship wood and the instant.
What is over, I can never finish.
The angel of work is sweat.
And still as I move the brush
many faces look back at me.
The stain vanishing into the knot
reminds me of something I forgot.

Rodney Jones’s most recent collection of poems is Salvation Blues, which received the 2007 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award.
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