Ode to the Belt Sander & This Cocobolo Sapwood

By Matthew Nienow b. 1983 Matthew Nienow
The belt kicks on with a whir & the whir
licks the end grain of the offcut with a hint

of  hesitation. A small wind of ochre dust
sweeps off the belt before the belt comes back

to where it was. The whole room swells
with the scent of cinnamon & desire.

How imprecise the smell of desire.

The wood takes on a sheen, a gloss
the grain can live behind without worry

of  being forgotten. A single knot blinks
out of the small block and becomes

the eye of a hummingbird, its beak
bending around the edge of the wood,

its small song captured in the annular rings.
To think, this block was tossed in

with the scraps. That the bird
could have been lost. Or burned.

Source: Poetry (January 2013).


This poem originally appeared in the January 2013 issue of Poetry magazine

January 2013
 Matthew  Nienow


Matthew Nienow was born in Los Angeles and spent most of his youth in Seattle. He earned an MFA from the University of Washington and a degree in Traditional Small Craft from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding.  His work has appeared in Beloit Poetry JournalNew England Review, Poetry, the Best New Poets anthology (2007 and 2012), and in three chapbooks.

Nienow has received awards and fellowships from the National . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Desire, Arts & Sciences, Architecture & Design, Painting & Sculpture

POET’S REGION U.S., Northwestern

Poetic Terms Couplet, Free Verse, Ode

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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