I ripped the carpet off my stairs
so now I’m halfway up and halfway
down, extracting staples from scarred
slabs of pumpkin pine. Destruction
beats creation in a footrace every day:
heave most things out an upstairs window,
gravity will do the rest— but this work
has me on my knees and keeps me there
and what I bow before keeps changing.
Hail to staple guns and staples, hail
work of opposition and determination
of the soul who put this carpet down
that it should be eternal, hail to kneepads,
needle-nosed pliers-teeth, hail flathead
shaft that pries and lifts these staples up,
hail to the ding they sing into the pail,
to sanding and to grit, to elbow grease,
to oil, to polyurethane, to spreading it
across the treads like honey with a brush,
to watching as it sinks into the grain
four times before it lies atop the surface,
do not touch, until it’s formed
the recommended hard, bright shine.Hayden Saunier’s poems have most recently appeared in Madpoets Review and The Bucks County Writer. She was the winner of the 2005 Robert Fraser Open Poetry Competiton. She lives in Bucks County.

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