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Ode to the Belt Sander & This Cocobolo Sapwood

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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)

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

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Ode to the Belt Sander & This Cocobolo Sapwood

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