I have almost nailed my left thumb to the 2 x 4 brace that holds the deck
together. This Saturday morning in June, I have sawed 2 x 6s, T-squared
and leveled everything with three bubbles sealed in green glass, and now
the sweat on my tongue tastes like what I am. I know I'm alone, using
leverage to swing the long boards into place, but at times it seems as if
there are two of us working side by side like old lovers guessing each other's

This hammer is the only thing I own of yours, and it makes me feel I have
carpentered for years. Even the crooked nails are going in straight. The
handsaw glides through grease. The toenailed stubs hold. The deck has
risen up around me, and now it's strong enough to support my weight, to
not sway with this old, silly, wrong-footed dance I'm about to throw my
whole body into.

Plumbed from sky to ground, this morning's work can take nearly any-
thing! With so much uproar and punishment, footwork and euphoria, I'm
almost happy this Saturday.

I walk back inside and here you are. Plain and simple as the sunlight on the
tools outside. Daddy, if you'd come back a week ago, or day before yester-
day, I would have been ready to sit down and have a long talk with you.
There were things I wanted to say. So many questions I wanted to ask, but
now they've been answered with as much salt and truth as we can expect
from the living.