A bricklayer

He starts at seven with the others, warming up
in the cool shade before the sun surmounts the trees,
radio chattering, playing songs he knows.
He begins a new line. The mortar, right mix
of cement and sand, lies heaped like mousse on the board.
Lifted, distributed, lifted, distributed, then levelled
with one long light sweep of the trowel.

Each brick weighs just one brick
and fits his hand. Brick
buttered, placed, tapped, and softly swiped; brick
buttered, placed, tapped, and softly swiped; brick
buttered, placed, tapped, and softly swiped; brick
buttered, placed, tapped, and softly swiped; brick
buttered, placed, tapped, and softly swiped:
he signs each brick with the necessary flourish.

He makes the ancient movements evenly.
His arms and neck and chest. His back and legs.
The wall
rises,
rises,
rises,
and is done.
Long after he is gone the house will stand.

First published in The Mozzie

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