Poem: "Mr. Clement Gives a Lesson in Good Manners" by Pamela Harrison
Mr. Clement Gives a Lesson in Good Manners
I come, all business, to his shop
to see if he will mend my broken chair.
Sawdust, like golden snow, drifts
in the notches of his lathes and saws,
lights the dusky halo of his hair.
I start straight in with what I want,
how the cane broke, what I’d like to pay.
Mr. Clement looks twice away, abashed,
sets his tools down, wipes his face,
waits before me with his proffered hand.
Greetings first, I learn—how the family is,
then how things prosper at the school,
our hands joined all the while, moving gently
up and down, raising the rungs of our relation
to that cordial height where work may rightly start.
From Glory Bush and Green Banana (Turning Point, 2017)