Panel Beater

by Austin Lawrence

It isn’t what the hammer does but how he wields it
and the trajectories he controls,
and it’s something of a man’s anticipation
knowing the final shape he has to make.
It isn’t where the sheet is placed upon the block
nor how it slides with careful hands,
but how the final curves will always look
and whether weighted blows will stretch or tuck;
he simply makes a shape the craftsman’s way,
manipulating smooth sheet metal,
a thin steel skin curving under a hand that
feels a soft grain hardening through the hammer.