I’ll be your blood, your taste, your touch

I’ll be your blood, your taste, your touch

In my head I hold
a mental map of all the pipes
beneath these streets
because I laid them there

and in my fingers, spark
of all the wires
on those poles
because I strung them there

and in my muscle,
lift of lumber —
stud, joist, rafter
ever after because
I joined them there.

Little town, I built your bone,
your vessel, your nerve.
Now dance, now play.
Now taste your father’s kiss.


Joe Cottonwood has built or repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit. His latest book is Foggy Dog: Poems of the Pacific Coast. He’s a pretty good carpenter and a crackerjack grandfather in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.

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