Before He Knew

Before He Knew October 8, 2018

He was thirteen before he knew

what a hand drill was. His father

saved and bought him one for 75 cents.

Before that, he made holes in wood

by twisting coal-fired nails into the

grain. It was his job to throw wood

in the fire after school. When red

hot, he’d pinch a nail with a pair

of pliers and twist it through the

wood, which went soft and dark

until there was an opening. Now

his skin is thin and just last week

he stumbled out of bed and landed

hard on the radiator, his forearm

tearing like a thin curtain. It took

an hour to stop bleeding. He just

took care of it himself. We are

held this way in the fire of time

where we go soft and dark till

our skin goes thin and just

waking tears us open.

 

 

A Question to Walk With: Ask an elder in your life for a story about the first tool they learned how to use.

This excerpt is from a new book in progress, Compass Work: Finding Our Fathers While Finding Ourselves.

 

*Photo credit: Pixabay

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