Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts

A Small Space

by Tony Morris


I pared some pieces down,

whittled ends to nubs

then stepped away—


the needle rasp, the riffler,

jigs and hasps all splayed

across the bench—then walked


the hill back home

where she’d buckled, bowed

and fell between


the sink and kitchen table,

her floral apron spilled

like paint around her crumpled legs.


And as she held on like a moth

out of wing in winter, I shuffled

back from house to shop each day


and worked the wood

with carcass saw and chisels,

rat-tail rasp and marking knife,


then I spun the vice jaws tight

that held the glued and mortised

ends and there it stayed,


until the last friend said goodbye,

and I had cleaned and swept

the floors and brought the flowers



all inside. And after drying

that first load of clothes,

precisely folding every rag


and garment simple so (edge

and corners matched

and lined up at the seams),


I placed them in the chest

then tried to close it—and it stuck.

A tiny gap, a little space


was all, a small strip misaligned,

no more, and so I turned and walked

away, left the wood to rub.