There is the carpenter. He uses sandpaper against the oak wood methodically making sure to rub against the grains uneven fiber edges. He sands them smooth so the wood’s eyes gaze forward. They watch their new owners, subdued. The wild eyes, which before stared into a vast clustered forest, have been rubbed until they are soft to the touch. Each one of the beams is shaped into a new counter top. I help glue the curved, splinter less wooden edges. The heat from the machine molds the corners slowly, steady until it gives, and the new counter is ready. I watch as the Formica is pressed into this new form. Round metal clamps, glue burning, smells of hot car engines in the summer as it bonds to its wooden top.
This is the first of many I watch made.
He is a carpenter, and I am a carpenters’ daughter.
I saw him mold counter tops and cabinets from wood reluctant to transform. He made them into shapes his calloused hands loved as he sanded and stained them for people to buy. I stood behind him, watched silent, waited as he finished these pieces I would never see again.
They would be loved by someone else.
Hands pressed against them. Fingers run against their tops as they wipe clean the day’s stains, the family meals. Families the carpenter would never see. Families I would never see. I am a carpenters’ daughter. He builds things from wood, tames them into bookshelves counter tops dressers headboards… stained to a deep walnut, cherry, each to the family’s liking.
He transforms these wild trees into something people love.
I watch as he tames everything but me, as he loves and builds everything but us.
Yasmin Ramirez is a native El Pasoan. She stays active in the literary community and writes And Then, a blog. Her work has been featured in HUIZACHE and Hinchas de Poesia. Other publications include: The North Texas Review, Hispanic Culture, and Cream City Review among others. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso and is an Assistant Professor of English at El Paso Community College. She is completing her first book a memoir titled, Por Un Amor and writing a YA series, Love Letters, with Epic Press.