Mrs. Parr made us write letters
to the hammering man that lived
in the radiators of those cold
Beechfield elementary rooms.
He got a lot of mail that winter – ’70 to ’71,
and we scratched our gratitudes
on the four line papers, certain
to keep our ascenders and descenders
in time and in tune with the peals
of iron and steam.
It wasn’t until ’77 that I got a grip
on thermodynamics and realized
there was no man in the heat
of those cold Beechfield rooms,
No giving hand with a maul
to pound away the nails of frost
and loose the stiff knuckles
of a chattering hand.
But back in ’71, when mercury
pressed against iron, too young
to formulate disbelief,
we gave our penciled thanks
to the hammering man
that once had wrought relief.