Poetry and Arts


I came into the shop quietly.
With the bright sun outside,
it was like entering a cave.
He called it a shop—
table saw, wood plane,
two walls hung with tools.
Women didn’t come in here.

His back was to me,
something broken on the workbench.
He was singing, almost a croaking,
old frog-throat gear screaking
something something Red River Valley.
He swayed a little who never danced,
the man who was model of how to be a man.
I backed out into the blinding sun
and never told him I heard him sing.


Reprinted with permission from Living Wages (Tupelo Press, 2014). Copyright 2014 by Michael Chitwood.

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