by Gail Sosinsky
I ran the wood deep underneath the nail
of my thumb. The doctor pulled the splinter
out, gave me a shot of antitoxin.
I looked dejected, begged pity, got it:
"Poor baby, such a painful cross to bear."
At home, a growing first-born son, you worked
your father's trade, lifting, hewing, shaping
wood. A thousand splinters your hands have known.
No miracles of modern medicine were there
to heal your hands, scarred by family business.
The final time You lifted wood, You bore
death. With Your back to the rude, unfinished
board, You inscribed a new Family contract
in blood, driving the hard bargain home with
three nails of iron, a thousand nails of wood.