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  • Writer's pictureJohn Patrick Starling


Of course, he wanted a boy with good hands.

They were all die-hard Gators fans.

All day he'd pound nails in the Florida Sun,

Countersinking each one in rum from the night before,

And teaching the kid the craft in the waning afternoons.

They'd build a sunroom "For them 'Joneses' - across town".

Make a perfect picture window for a neighbor down the block.

Or not.

"I wouldn't let my dog work for that cock."

And sometimes restless, far and late

The boy would hold the light,

As the man would toil, curse and fight…

Blooding knuckles, smearing nose and tools.

And they'd (two workin' men) drive home again,

Without an honest word.

Next day they'd hammer, cut and screw

And then collect "a fee that's fair".

Smiling. Leaving. Everything

Plumb and square.

And the boy would seethe in his seat,

Silent under his cap, as Hank Williams

Sang out from the dash

To the time of the old man's tap.

~John Patrick Starling

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