Ripping

In the old days

a man faced

a six foot plank

with a rip saw

and he wanted

two planks so

he began.

He marked the

plank with a ruler

and a pencil and

he drew a line

where he wanted

to saw and he

began. He began

to saw all the

way down that six

foot plank because

men do what

men do. It’s

between the man

and he job and

every man knows this

and no job gives a

damn. So he

began and he

sawed and sawed

and sawed and

after about the

fiftieth stroke his

muscles began to

remind him of softer

tasks, but of course

he ignored he whispers

of ache and pain.

He ignored the

screams of ligaments

and tendons when

they came and the sweat

and death like

grip of his hands

on the saw. He

sawed and sawed

and sawed and after

a while ordained

by God who rules

the growth of trees

and men and puts

them hard up

against one another,

the plank fell in two

and the man goes home

to dinner and a

woman who asks

about his day.

He doesn’t say

much. There isn’t

much to say, but

later that night

he reaches for her

and she makes room

and the sawing

motion begins again

and this time there

is no tree. There

is no saw. There is

no job. It’s the

same, however, and

they make a baby

and this happens

over and over and

over again and after

a lot of work

and a lot of

what it takes

they build a

nation.

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