around the work bench’s 4-inch slab of wood,
men gather and exchange specs and gossip,
hardware bins stacked behind them
like the backdrop to a bar.
Secure in bodies that announce a man,
they don’t wear baseball caps backwards,
don’t bother about Nike gear,
and they don’t appreciate city people.
When I enter, heading for
the back door, in my L.L.Beans,
34” khakis, metal rimmed glasses,
arms askew like bent spokes,
the room falls quiet.
The men look at me,
then at each other
as though an alien
or odd sister
has just walked through.