There’s no one left to see his hands
lifting from the engine bay, dark and gnarled
as roots dripping river mud,

no one to see how his palms — slabs of callus
from scouring the long throats of chimneys,
hauling mortar and brick — move

in the fabricated light. Thumb-knuckle
thick and white as a grub where the box-
cutter bit. Split nail grown back

scalloped and crooked. The stitch-
puckered skin. And when they fold into and out
of themselves by the steaming faucet,

when they strip clean, the tap water
running black, then copper, then clear
into the grease-clotted drain

there’s no one to witness the slap
of a wet rag tossed in the break-
room sink or the champ of gravel

in the empty lot. How the stars dim
as morning comes on. How a semi downshifts
on the overpass and the shop windows rattle

as it goes.