In the short days of a long winter
we sort nuts, bolts, and washers
against the busy days of summer

Place them in well-marked bins
accompanied always by his mentor’s
Never waste five dollars worth of time
looking for a five cent bolt

The 9/16th fine-threads do not go in
with the regular or coarse

When you’re four
it’s not hard to get up
at four to ride in the cattle
truck to the city with your dad
excitement keeps you awake all night

There are knots you need to know
reef, sheepshank, and the ever
popular bowline that can still
be undone even after looping
a red bull weighing a ton

Hook the twine around your
little finger just son, in a way
that I could never get,
three turns and knot
the gunny sack
in two seconds

Heel that calf, or turn the herd
drive the truck at the perfect speed
to catch the combine
on the fly

There is a great deal of pleasure in
doing something right, when right
is the only way anything should
ever be done

But never far, even yet
from the red-black cloud
of doing it wrong