A journal of narrative writing.
That Was the Thumb of One

Listen to That Was the Thumb of One
read by Bryan Narendorf

in memoriam, B.N. That was the thumb of one who had enough good sense to walk the roof with a jangle of tools on his belt laying out the bundles of shingles so they’d be where they needed to be when he needed them and knew that a fourteen ounce hammer takes two strokes to drive roofing nails instead of one but is less effort than backing down the ladder again to root in the truck parked in a field turned to muck by spring runoff for a mallet. This thumb, with its arthritic ache in rain and deep ridges of skin wormed around the knuckle, its crook and twinges, the break badly healed that limited its range of motion, this thumb was more than itself. Its scars a register of near- misses and inattentions with the saw, and its calluses opalesced like pearls pried out from the clamp of oysters, built up of abrasion and splinter. Its striated nail cracked into shards poorly fitted back together, tilted like sidewalk by tree roots or continental plates roughed up into mountains. Make the thumb an emblem for all he knew, straight and plumb without level or line, the right angle to toenail in each framing stud, that work is what it is, what is done or will be done again, again and again until doing becomes knowing lodged like splinters