WestWords Perfect Pair – 06.08.2014

 Contemporary American poet, Dorianne Laux was born in Maine in 1952. She worked as a sanatorium cook and a gas station manager, before receiving a BA in English from Mills College in 1988. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including Awake, Facts about the Moon – winner of the 2005 Oregon Book Award and more recently in 2011 The Book of Men. Laux is co-author, with Kim Addonizio, of The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry. Descriptive, affectionate, this is:

THE SHIPFITTERS WIFE
By Dorianne Laux

I loved him most
When he came home from work,
His fingers still curled from fitting pipe,
His denim shirt ringed with sweat,
And smelling of salt, the drying weeds
Of the ocean. I’d go to him where he sat
On the edge of the bed, his forehead
Anointed with grease, his cracked hands
Jammed between his thighs, and unlace
The steel-toed boots, stroke his ankles,
His calves, the pads and bones of his feet.
Then I’d open his clothes and take
The whole day inside me – the ship’s
Gray sides, the miles of copper pipe,
The voice of the first man clanging
Off the hull’s silver ribs. Spark of lead
Kissing metal. The clamp, the winch,
The white fire of the torch, the whistle,
And the long drive home.

 

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