Before lunch we deconstruct a chimney questioning…

what’s a simile for a brick?
_____(as hard as a…
_____as heavy as a…
_____as red as a…)
you build descriptions
with bricks, not for them,
bricks sit, indifferent—

at home the shower
water turns black
at my feet, while
obsidian tornadoes
twist from nostril tombs,
dropping detritus from
my mucus membrane;

sell the grime water as
oil and sedimental snot
as coal, so some fringe
benefits exist for a day
lost loading, lugging,
and lobbing kiln flamed
rectangles—dripping sweat
inside dust mask saunas,

vision blurs—but in the
fog I glimpse grandpa Figy
declining a full ride to
Cornell, facing the doctor
who offered it—to cultivate
his northwest-Ohio farm
_____to herd roosters,
_____to ‘dress’ chickens—

what’s a metaphor
for herding roosters?
He says, I saw how hard
my family, my town worked

and he’s still among us,
for now, too slow for
poultry, reminding me:
Jim, help your dad.

So after lunch we
build a staircase.


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