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Where to Strike

An iron hook drops slowly
from a height that will be
ten stories when the building
rises there, dangling from a crane
that pivots steps from a busy
sidewalk in remembrance
of the fishermen who worked
this place before it became
land. No one looks up, thinks
about the crushing weight
over their heads. A weary woman
and a weary man become
part of the landscape between
sidewalk and street, heads on knees,
eyes emptied, a box between them
that might contain all they own
or all they have to sell. The walk
has been made new in a week
for the benefit of those with larger boxes
who will scarcely walk on it but prefer
red brick herringbone to worn gray
paving stones below their windows.
	Watching the workers
who put down the brick, I attend
to the making of edges--straight curbs
of gray tight against red triangles--and recall
how my grandfather knew in his hands
where to strike the brick and at what angle
to break it in a clean line to fill
space right up to the edge.