Self Portrait with Mule
By Teresa Iverson
My neighbor is rebuilding his front steps,
replacing each worn board—record
footsteps and dust.
How the fresh planks shine, color of wet sand.
The hammer strokes arrive along grooves
deepened by hearing: and hearing, delighted,
meets them crisp rebound. A child
leaning against a fence, I once watched
a man and mule score a field—
reins slapped across the bony cradle of its
rump, the mule dragged a plow,
handles and blade lifting at each row’s end
turned in the man’s hands like a divining rod.
Nowdays when I look in the mirror my body
assumes clean hues of clay—
rust—silt that a river has washed.
Copyright © 2007 by Teresa Iverson.