Precision in the Age of Machines

His old job as
a machinist: setting
up coordinates and
watching the laser cutting

through sheet-metal, in
his voice a longing, or love.
He liked that kind of

work because it required precision

(by him or by the machine,
I’m not sure). How

Is there a more desirable
asset than precision?

A trait I’ve never had,
sloppy artist that I am,
in any of my work.

Except perhaps Poetry—
or at least I’ve only cared
about precision when it comes to

Poetry in this day and age (!)—
and for a middle-aged man, nonetheless.

Construction Worker

In plump raindrops, the construction worker, with his hard hat and faded denim jeans, dirty-orange safety vest, pulls taut a white string that comes from a manhole in the lane nearest the sidewalk. He labors slowly, like a man pulling a semi; like a centaur. With the rope over his shoulder each step is deliberate as he steps, one by one, away from the manhole. Each step a strain and burden. The object, which he pulls is never seen, always out of sight -much like the ones that are paying him. He puts the rope down, puts his hands on his waist, and stretches his neck. Students walk by, some chatting, some not. The sound of cars driving over the wet pavement rise and fall. Now the man begins to descend into the manhole. After not too long, when he comes back up, he has the other end of the string.