My uncle’s rules were simple enough.
Leave your boots behind at the truck,
a bare sole the difference
between a small cut on the foot
and the real pain of angry metal
forced straight up through a shoe.
Approach everything with care,
palms down, fingers out.
Live by every decision—
nothing grabbed wants to be,
so use your hands with forceful purpose.
And just in case you grab something
more decisive than you, before
it grabs you back, let it go.
from his book At the Bonehouse
Texas Review Press, 1998
used with permission of the poet