Poetry. THE PLUMBER'S APPRENTICE differs from Weil's previous work in that it charts the nature of suffering beyond the limits of his working class "Elizabeth" and focuses more deeply on two aspects of his life: his Irish Catholic sense of communion, with the living and the dead (all who have gone forth marked with the sign of faith), and the essential solitude of being a single, short, bald man who has no offspring, no legacy, no beloved, and is falling, however slowly, to his death. Perhaps the question Weil asks most frequently is: given the inevitable coordinates of ongoing failure, how does a poet give the middle finger to grade z forms of Emersonian positivism and have some fun in this vale of tears? In sum: if love is impossible, and life severely limited, and loneliness is devouring the furniture, where's the closest bar, and do they have a good jukebox? For brief moments Weil succeeds in making failure, death and love his drinking buddies. In the poet's messed up ontology, they make for a lively and comical crew.