The Framing Square

Rick Mulkey | Poetry

If only I could believe in the world the way my father’s
framing square leaning against the garage wall
believes in its usefulness, that it will once again
edge a straight line or shape an angle so a SKIL saw
can capture the final form square and sure
as any well-made item should be. Or even the way
a tool box patient in its dusty corner blanketed
in a nest of cob webs knows, if it knows anything,
this uselessness will pass. Nails sleeping in their Mason Jars
and forged hammers idle on a shelf understand dead gods
resurrect themselves. Faith is a bag of bolts
we save in case a situation arises. But having no surety
for what is possible in a world always too oblique,
always too slanted toward grief and pain, I measure
the matter of the universe each night I close my eyes,
fitting and joining in dreams and stanzas what reality
refuses to construct erect and plumb.