WOODEN SPOON
—for Katie

This wooden spoon has lived well. The beveled drawknife cuts along the sturdy handle are muted, gently rounded by the right hand of the woman who held it for over a quarter-century until that dark spring day twenty-eight years ago when she set it aside in respect for the man who had made it.
The bowl bears the faint skeleton of chisel cuts, furrowed to the rub of thumb like the veins of leaves left after the tissue has dried and feathered and fallen away. The hands that chiseled these furrows may have the same day directed the single-bottom plough across the stony field. And the potatoes that came from that field in turn felt the command of the woman’s hand as she spooned their snowy bodies, and felt too the gently-carved grace voiced over them.
The handle has a cool smoothness this morning––the August sun sloping through the still dampness of the trees to this porch, the sounds of the brook only a gentle background current to thought––a cool smoothness like that of soapstone after the Inuit sculptor has worked his magic to call up the double spirit of stone and thing.
Tiny cracks have opened on opposing sides of the drill hole intended for a loop of twine, and a larger crack cuts along the grain on the right shoulder of the bowl. So the spoon is drying to old age.
The child of the fourth-generation will know in time who built this house and tended it. Too, she will touch hands in this wooden spoon and will know in time how it is possible to bind lives firmly in simple ways, with simple things.