The Housewright’s Mercy
My brother wants a visionary’s house,
and reads and signs the housewright’s master plan:
in what we leave behind, a chiseled script,
we ask for mercy’s constant care, to keep
our names alive. This verse I’ve tried to plane
for strangers, hewn as faithfully as his,
this home I build, the labor of my life,
must be a place in which the world can live.
Who knows what heaven is? Or if we’re left
with Joseph shouldering his ax, the girth
of ringed infinity’s elm—to try and glimpse
through darkness Martha’s incandescent lamps.
Does broken Carthage most resemble death,
or do those workmen on the roof who lift
a horizontal beam, stripped to the waist,
still forge the final crosspiece of the West?
by Mellisa Green
from The Squanicook Eclogues
The Pen & Anvil Press, Boston, 2010