In Completing the Wooden Box, Dad Asked Me

by Meg Eden

did you realize you glued the feet
to the top of your piece?

I am not a doctor, or a neuro-
scientist. Are those feet? Or hands?

Father evaluates the things I’ve forgotten:
sanding out the burn marks, the cut crevices,
polyurethane on the inside, the unlevel
gluing job. Why am I not surprised
this time?

You do not like precision, my father chides me.
You like things to be complete. You forget
to take time on them.

I do not trust
myself with precision, I know
the list of its future horrors: it will be dropped,
the blade will go too far, the edges will chip—
it’s like how folk Chinese do not name their children
until after two years of life—don’t attach
yourself to that which the spirits may take.

Father’s portfolio of pieces includes:
the upstairs hallway, the down stairs den, the stone
that covers our house, two lamps, a clock that grows
out of the living room wall, like something from an art
exhibit. I try to not envy his precision.

The design should be integrated, not opposed
to the grain; always make the tenon
before the mortison—
I am not ready, yet I continue
forward like a stupid animal, a bison
that keeps running its head
into the dining room wall.
I hold the still born piece in my hands,
it’s too late for you, I’m afraid. Too late
for many things.

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Meg Eden has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including Rock & Sling, The Science Creative Quarterly, anderbo, Gloom Cupboard, and Crucible. Her chapbook The Girl Who Came Back was given first honorable mention of NFSPS’s University level Poetry award. Her collection Rotary Phones and Facebook is to be released in June 2012 by Dancing Girl Press. Find her at