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The Uses of Carpentry

It was known I made wooden horses
to be worn as brooches
or pulled as a child’s toy;
I would study the mane 
and its mournful head,
how it hangs like an unflamed 
candle wick; how its eyes 
have bluntly supervised 
the carting of the dead.
At Troy,
I was ordered to think big,
fasten muscled thighs into a rig 
for thirty men. Their heads bent 
under a vertebrae of roof,
helmets muzzled, shields in a hoof;
rows of plated torsos snug as tessera.
The concealing of each weapon
as sly as mortise-and-tenon;
rope coiled into the creature’s viscera ‒
and then the gift was sent.
It was done to showcase my abilities;
I am become the destroyer of cities.

Martin Monahan

(issue 26)