Sanding Floors

Caught between agriculture and industry
I tread grained rows
I grind up golden dust
triceps flexed and small of back strained
behind a tumbling drum sander
a silver juggernaut with blue sparking motor
ravenous teeth on a roll under my control
short leashed it grumbles
I follow in cloudy plastic goggles
black rubber respirator a filtered trunk
like an elephant-headed deity of the hearth
like an astronaut harvesting the moon
I scour these oaken floors with heavy gravity

36 Grit
Like lamprey's teeth on a steel cylinder
to gouge and tear in long splinters
through the black carpet backing
through the ancient dried glue
through the glaring waxed finish
I grind on through these old boards' tattoos

60 Grit 
More precious now like a
granddad's whiskered cheek
to a goodnight kiss
spun round to ride the channeled waves
knocking off their curls their
whitecaps churned beneath
harnessed horses' hooves and teeth
to flow soft upon the floory shore

100 Grit
Sharkskin smooth for a final run
amber waves of grain all raised
a heightened vibrancy arises
hearts' secrets brought up to the surface
with democratic leveling to stand
equal individual and
nakedly alive

I walk these planks in noise and dust
to make a home out of this house
I am the reaper of rough
I am the sower of smooth

:: W. Joe Hoppe, in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review #6 (1995)

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