At The Mountain State Fair
the herdsman calls
to his collies,
but they are deaf to him.
Rides are lighting up the night,
shaking people and making them shriek.
It does not matter that the dogs
could not do their work.
There was no crowd.
Animals and flowers
are not what they come for
If he stood beneath
the Ferris wheel saying Away,
it would listen.
Turning, turning from him.
After they clear cut his family land
to put in the interstate,
the timber was left to lay and rot.
So he restores the tools his great grandfather
used, harvesting a few trees
that were ancient even then.
He clamps the sawsrip saws,
coping sawsto steady them,
and sharpens. He mills the wood,
cuts it to length, and assembles it.
He twists pegs out of a scrap, pounds
them into screw holes, knocks the excess off,
and sands it all smooth.
Then layers on a dozen coats of finish.
When the table is dry,
he sits pots on it, straight from the stove.
No hint of the heat shows
in his thick polish,
and he says nothing against change,
or about missing that deep, familiar shade.