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A Geezer's Journal: Ode to a pencil

Yellow stick, now

In assorted flagrant colors, but

For me always, and forever, amber,

I reach for you once again.

Thoreau made the ancient kind,

With flat-shaped lead

Sandwiched between two slices of

Tough oak. He could, they

Say, pick up a precise dozen

Out of a disheveled pile, time

After time.

Marvelous stick, my index

Finger pressed against your neck

In the gun metal blue dark,

You and I spend the morning working.

Your gray pointed needle, in

Leaps and bounds, feats of

Parabola creations makes,

Hissing softly across the page.

I press on, following your lead.

What you make, you can unmake,

In a curious touch,

Simply by standing on your head.

My steadfast, my graphite friend,

In a world of doubt,

As I have on so many

Dark, answer-less mornings before,

I hold on to you for dear life.

Richard Goodman is an assistant professor of creative nonfiction writing at the University of New Orleans.  He’s the author of French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France.