Trent Busch

Mr. Cooper

One whiff and I am off;
the scent from the oak board
I have ripped takes me
to a man who with
a handsaw built our house,

a man with lean hands, who
when he took a break sat
with legs crossed and smoked, his
head back, the mystery
of planning in his face.

Usually, I wear my mask;
today I forgot, the scent
of a man in wood caught
in a circle of
air blowing through my shop.

A man younger then than
I am now, he died face
down a week after our house
was built on a path
he took each day to milk.

None to see and mask off, I
draw this portrait for myself:
a small man lighting a smoke,
looking off, the stance
of a winter homemade porch.


I don't know exactly
how long it takes a joint
to bond, the directions
on the back of the bottle
about humidity
and temperature thrown
out the door on a cold
morning or hot afternoon.

It holds or it doesn't:
the stress on the rockers
of chairs in the corner might
outlast for years the slight
pressure on headboards.

My grandparents on both sides
stuck together, though one set
was forty years needing
mending, their furniture
made from lumber drawn by
thick-legged horses, sawn
and dried, but I don't think
glue was stronger back then.

You design the fit well,
with no promise, and take
your chances, hoping for
magic that comes only
after long hours: the piece
more than wood, glue more than
a squirt from a bottle.