LAYING FLOOR

for my Alexandra at three

 

She’s learned a new word,

After a week of wood laying and barricades.

Swollen hands have lifted her beyond

Mastic, the tongue and groove of patterns

Undone, and the machines that growl and grind,

To set her again upon her feet

In a further room.

She knows, even now, she doesn’t like it,

Dangling head and arms over the gate,

She howls like a hungry saw

At the ill-fitting pieces.

“Soon enough,” I tell her,

And then again, “Soon enough.”

But she has little time.

When the barricades come down,

She races from room to room

To catch up with herself,

Before beginning to tiptoe over the finished wood.

She has some sense, I know,

If asked how she likes her new floor,

She will squat and point and smile.