blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1


PIVOT POINTS  |  Dave Smith

The Clam-Rake Room

The maker, a man who sweats and shines as if with tears,
a tree with scars, still growls and holds the floor
where I grew up when blood startled the humid air,
stars, planets, worlds of slapped, badgered metal
spinning, clawing the dark until he tunes all
the touch of things, his groan and urge the final
grunt of play that bends me to him, watched by elders
who’ve sworn his rake alone scoops the bottom better.

A world of glare presses the sooted-by shop glass,
but here light’s a hammer’s sloped and fire-strung spit
that cuts steel to spiky fingers to rake the clams up.
Backed to the wall, burrowed in breath, all squint,
I’m not much, a child yet. Secrets sizzle. He asks,
speaking through flame, Are you the one they want?
Those who brought me laugh, big-armed gleaners whose
hands clap at my ear with each beat sparked and splashed.  


 The Clam-Rake Room
   Warren's Flowers
   Las Flores de Robert
 Penn Warren

   Notes and Acknowledgments
   Levis Reading Loop