the physics teacher’s children have no shoes

I admired the progress of the carpenter’s
work on our home as I swept up decades
old dust released from the ceiling. Now,
spackling paste still wet around the edges,
vertical spaces have expanded, and the
smoothed wall invites a new coat of paint.

I wondered if at his house there could be
a still unfinished door frame. A window
doesn’t close quite right. A sagging gutter
taunts him every day as he comes home
after improving other people’s residences.
Cobbler’s children have no shoes, they say.

So for good measure I thought I could
leave out some loose pieces of papers and
eraser shavings. A block and inclined plane
scratched out on one, just a question mark
next to the coefficient of friction. On another,
a rotating pulley with its mass yet unknown.

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