Wood Shop

When a girl in our school lost a finger in Wood Shop,
Mr. Cline cut from a stray pine board
what he sometimes called a prod, sometimes a handle.
No longer would a student in his shop class
push by hand
any board through a circular saw.

When I spoke of the lost finger to my cousin,
he asked me what she was doing taking Wood Shop.
This was still the sixties,
and a girl in shop was way beyond him.

I presumed she was trying to make a point.
What point, he said,
that women could lose fingers too?

That year I kept all of my mine and graduated
with a pine bookcase, badly sanded,
that wobbled on its legs.

Sometimes I remember a high school geometry class,
a girl in a front row desk,
her ring finger bandaged with gauze.

How determined she looked chewing her pencil,
the intricate proofs
of Pythagoras
unraveling behind her eyes.

Read on . . .

Terminal Resemblance,” a poem by Louise Glück

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