By Deanna Pickard
The Cabinetmaker

Even if they could tell they wouldn't,
not the young calves, or the faithful
watchdog though he stood and watched,
puzzled. He had followed us
to the barn with its simple offerings
of shade and sheets of light falling
from the dark rafters. The soybeans

were no longer in string-set rows—
it was late August. The paths overgrown,
coaxed by heat, and running on
for miles with noisy insects
that grew silent as each footstep neared.
I was waiting. That morning
I had dressed for you.

You, of the hammer and nails,
the Dutch-blue eyes, the rusty pick-up.
I had watched enough, studied
the raw wood curling, spiraling
under your touch, knew your scent,
your fingers adept at working wood.
I had picked fruit for days,

the peaches heavy with syrup,
the deep-red apples dropping
at the slightest breeze.
The blouse I chose pulled slightly
at the buttons. I wanted to step out
of flour-splattered aprons
and night's nothingness.

When I followed you to the loft,
the baled oats smelled of dust and summer,
the seeds already stripped from the stalks.
I could barely breathe in the heat.
After I knelt before you,
you whispered, It was good.
As for me, I expected something more.