Friday, November 7, 2014

James Finnegan

Miter Box

The kitchen table was his workshop.
It was not that he was a woodworker, not a fine
craftsman by trade, but when I think of my father,
I think of his miter box, sawdust on linoleum.

An odd thing, not exactly a machine,
more a template, a wooden box with grooves
to guide the saw, an instrument that remembers
a right angle is made by two exactly at 45 degrees.

He was both a smart and a simple man,
he played no angles but knew many things.
On weekends, he liked to put up molding
and chair rail around the house.

Later he got into picture frames. Travel posters
and art prints mostly, cherished images of things
he’d never seen. Hold the saw steady, make smooth,
evenhanded strokes, keep to the groove.

© James Finnegan


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