Matthew Nienow


In the Year of “No Work”

I would drive the pre-dawn dark to stake
my spot to fish for dinner, to numb my hands in the ice
bucket, to pluck, from the neat stack, a herring,
to fit the skullcap and pierce the eye with a toothpick,
the body double-hooked, my fingertips glimmering
with the scales of the dead while the line whined free
from the reel, and the bait arced out over the tidal current
on a point in view of   the town where I lived,

Ode to the Belt Sander & This Cocobolo Sapwood

The belt kicks on with a whir & the whir
licks the end grain of the offcut with a hint

of  hesitation. A small wind of ochre dust
sweeps off the belt before the belt comes back

to where it was. The whole room swells
with the scent of cinnamon & desire.

How imprecise the smell of desire.

The wood takes on a sheen, a gloss
the grain can live behind without worry

of  being forgotten. A single knot blinks
out of the small block and becomes