#469: I can count on one hand my handy bones . . .


I can count on one hand my handy bones.
They number two or three and that is why
I find myself paying for all kinds of things
that other people, like my brother, can 
Do by themselves for a fraction of the cost.
So, I’ll get into trouble, and I try
To get right by all my deficiencies, 
Grateful for those aspects of character
Or skill that are not deficient in me. 
I think I’m a good friend (except that one time),
I have tried to be an effective lover,
And I think I’m getting good at the drums.
And, too, if you let me, I’d write all day. 
That sums me up pretty much, I’d say.

I put a lot of thought (maybe too much) into that “lover” line. I kept it because it strikes me as funny, not because it is in reality an essential part of my skill set. As a result, I neglected any number of things about me that are not deficient, but sufficient. There are worse husbands out there, for sure, and fathers, too. I think I’ve done a passable job at both of those things. And I know I’ve been pretty effective in the classroom for 32 years. That’s the aspect of the sonnet that is, perhaps, most maddening. You’ve got 14 lines and no more–and if you’ve set out on an ambitious idea, you’re going to have to leave stuff out–or tell a lie to make for a better poem. But it pains me, really, when I reflect on my ineptitude with hammers and saws. I mean, it wouldn’t pain me if money was no object. Unfortunately, it’s an object. I think I got that in there. Happy 28th day of NaPoWriMo.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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