in support of scaffolding

earlier you were today 
in a spacious shop, the doors
made of wood more than 10 feet high.
You were scrubbing scaffolding, 
aluminum. You were applying oil to parts 
that move, parts that stick. He was
welding and talking to you about photography,
cameras, those who self-determine and spend 
solitary years on boats that sail. One man 
intentionally ice-locked his boat 
in Arctic Ocean and spent
7 months alone, kite-surfing and taking
photos. Tonight you drink
hyssop tea combined with 
tinctured kava and valerian and 
albizia and your mouth goes 
just this side of numb. Your throat
feels thick, like words won’t quite climb out. 
Like earlier today when you were
in spacious shop with those wide wooden doors 
and he was welding and talking of taking 
photographers on his sailboat into the Arctic, 
to ply waters for images that will ply 
magazine pages, get lucky 
and a cover might get you $200K. Your hands
were slick from the oil you apply to the stuck parts
and your throat was thick like it is 
tonight from the kava and you weren’t able 
to muster much more than expressions
of awe at those who self-determine and make 
more money on a single photo than you’ve made in all
your life’s memories. Memories that bend 
like heated metal, before it is welded
rigid and solid. You thought of your dad
and how he tried to start a business during the slack
tide of unemployment, after yet another firing, 
how his eyes flamed and his hands sought
kindling in all they encountered. His hands 
were large and square. He bit his fingernails
past the horizon. His business idea set
like a midwestern sun and his hands
bent to different measures of work and idleness 
until he himself sighed and chuckled and
disappeared beneath the incoming tide. 
You look at your hands now, they’ve been
cleaned and are no longer slick 
with oil and thick with sludge. They hold 
the impossible grace of mug handle’s curve. 
They do not take photos that earn fortunes they do not
build boats they do not gently nurture 
relationships. You’ve just last week stopped
biting your nails and just last month learned again
to cry and your hands are scabbed
and ruddy and look at them,
oh look at them. They hold
a mug and they search for kindling
and they are beautiful without fail.

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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