He keeps his feet planted on the ground
and his eyes out of the sky so he can see
clearly the details of his work: the nails
held lightly in the fingers as the hammer falls.
He avoids crowds, spending much of his time
alone in his shop, sanding and carving. God
is not the clouds, he tells the pilgrims
who sometimes seek him out, he is
in every swirling grain of cedar, every speck
of sawdust, every splinter under the skin.
Every hand is a priest, every work an offering.
The devil visits often as the years amass,
watching with pity as his eyesight fades,
as his fingers wilt and curl inwards,
as death spreads slowly through his veins.
I can heal you, the devil says, hand extended,
face flushed of malice, I can make you young.
But Jesus only smiles and shakes his head:
Give a man enough time, old friend,
and he can learn to endure almost anything.