I’ve come to hobbies late in life and suspect this will be my last. In the basement workshop, perched on a wooden stool, I lean over the workbench with a sack of brass dog tags— smooth ovals like tongues pierced at either end. I’ve borrowed the alphabet—each steel letter backwards on a stem: boutonniere, Doric column, lightning rod at attention. I choose my words carefully because space permits so little, and hammer hard a dozen blows to force an imprint in the metal: Apricots, Rosa Rugosa, Eden, Avast, distilling, myth-making, the way a scientist in her lonely lab wades into a microscope to let the world expand. It comes down to this: Sweetie, Beach Plum, Elixir— the rest of what I ever said— jury-rigged, glued with conjunction, tentative, subjunctive, speaking around the indelible—drifts off like so many airy gowns. Upstairs you hear the hammer pounding and tell me as we lie again side by side under the patched roof, under the reeling stars, that it sounded like someone bludgeoning her way into or from a room— you could not decipher which. The afterimage burned inside my eyelids is of us with a chisel and mallet, stammering after the dark.