The hickory thigh varnished to a gloss
above the creaking metal knee
feels nothing, not the tarnished brass
thumbtack pushed into its grain,
a souvenir of aches and pains now lost
except in thoughts of how they stung.
With a cane to match, black-lacquered oak
topped with copper, his every stride
was another dormant pratfall, another joke
in the offing, but he could still be proud
of the craftsmanship, if not the time, it took
to make three clicks across the kitchen floor.
And with an oilcan for ointment, those lopsided steps
took their toll on his good leg, grown old
with the cane’s strange tripod stance,
until a set of wheels were rolled
beneath the undestroyed limb, and a stillness
tamed the bones marooned forever in their chair.