his arms fold over each other
left palm firm against the lower right arm
right fingers curve loosely across the biceps
golden hairs glisten on tanned skin

arms that have dug holes for trees posts fences
muscles strengthened against soil wire wood
fingers that have guided root tendrils, trickled
soil over them, patted the earth

winter days hoisting the axe high, thrusting
it down as if it were really the block
he was aiming to chop, scrunching paper
placing kindling, striking the match

skin weathered through seasons years
except for the tiny patch of white flesh
exposed above the curve of singlet sleeve
a peep-hole at another version of this man

a bulky teenager at the school social
or a child who was loved, not quite enough

E.A. Gleeson

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