You escape downstairs into the cave-dark basement, to lose yourself in the speech of hands and wood, to ancient syllables where tools are nouns and verbs. You hew from oak what a child has whittled from your heart, breathing in sawdust so a forest might grow in your lungs. You listen only to the sound of toil, sawing through wooden silences, silences within yourself. Things you won't say, things that would ruin father and daughter, husband and wife. Thunder, buzz, thump - The smell of freshly cut wood, oiled tools, old rust on your skin. You scaffold a life out of splinters, like Adam's ribs, broken. The cambium of trees grow still in your callused hands. I know the words you aren't saying as you skin planks, sweat into grain, breathe into sawdust.

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