The drill press could chew through a finger.
The table saw would slice off a hand.
Mr. G., at the lathe, wore a purple bowtie
to keep his neck in place.
Sandpaper was far safer and sorted
by grades – not the seventh or eighth, like us,
but the coarse, the fine and the very fine,
pale lines above Margaret Keegan’s lips.
We sanded, stopping only to feel the wood,
groping for a surface smooth as a kiss.
From our work, sawdust sailed on sunbeams,
making land on our arms and our rolled-up sleeves,
setting camp in the wilds of our hair.
Wearing our sawdust, a new and manly smell,
we couldn’t wait to see how the girls in Math
at the bold red hearts we’d carved for them
and all since the morning bell.