White-Washed Fences

Huckleberry your way into the backyard. Watch silently
as father is serenely brushing the fence. Ask him why
he smiles so grandly. He hands you a brush and says to try.

Paint the primer with pinched fingers facing upward,
hand deftly dabbing in strokes swift with its soft swish.
Heaven can’t paint itself. God leaves us with work to do.

Paint paradise onto rotting wood. Give the parameter
a new face, a new disguise. Soon, the yard will be surrounded
with cirrus hue; the Southern comfort of gospel in example.

Make repairs to these planks. Build a church out of gorilla glue,
old nails, and rusty screws. Send the hammer home every time
and show God you are working. We can’t have him know

we dream of idols, of sleep, of money, of lovers, of everything but
His work. Feel the guilt. Then, pick yourself back up and sweat.
Secrete your salt, and gain the carpenter’s thumb, blood oozing.

Your old man is watching you now. He is instructing you how to hold
the hammer, the drill, the saw, the screwdriver, even the brush.
Listen. He will show you how to build the white walls of the kingdom.

White-Washed Fences Banner Picture

Samuel Fox

Samuel Fox

Samuel J. Fox has been published in Nomad, Atlantis, Full of Crow, and is forthcoming in SLAB. He has a B.A. in English from Western Carolina University and is the recipient of the Gilbert-Chappell Award for 2014. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and is an MFA candidate at NC State University.
Samuel Fox

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