Post and Beam


A Canadian clipper blows down on us

as we raise the second story beams

high to the top plate, pin the ridge,

hustle to be done by dark.

The smell of sap and sawdust,

the whine of blades, the crack

of mallets. Mark, cut, and lift.

Chisels out, oiled, honed,

worshipped in a way,

tools of the trade.

Cut the mortises, the tenons,

try to stay warm.

It’s cabinet work

on hands and knees

thirty feet up in the driven air.

The foreman yells

“Break!”  But we don’t,

the task at hand.

A crescent moon digs in

at the tree line against the gusts.

Clark Myers, an active member of the poetry community on Martha’s Vineyard, lives in Vineyard Haven.