Saturday, November 2, 2013


There was a time when the fall
was punctuated with stacking firewood. 
My grandmother at the cross sawhorse, 
& me, a child stacking cords of wood
against the shingled wall of the shed.
She showed me how to wedge the ends
with split wood to make a jigsaw puzzle.
When she sawed through the sawhorse, 
we changed jobs, I sawed, she stacked,
each year, she moved a little slower,
while I became expert at greasing
bow saw blades too precious to snap.
The saw bit into sunlit sawdust, an acrid legacy.
The axe & wedge split the secret heartwood.
Over the years, we built great cord walls
that could stretch to China, or the moon.
Nothing was wasted. Mulched leaves
kept the garden warm. Without kindling
the sap from the oak & bay wouldn't bleed
& sing of secret aquifers, or cry of old storms.
They'd gurgle & hiss in dark sooted tongues
and then flood the house with smoke.
So we coaxed their gift of heat & light
with small scraps from the woodpile.
Impatient, I stomped on a green bay branch
to break it in two for kindling, but the tip
lashed back to pierce my upper lip. 
Two inches away from blindness
I was, that day.        A font of blood
bathed my teeth in metallic sacrifice.
I was a big girl, so I swallowed
back the tears, and stacked wood
for the coming winter.

rev 11/5/2013
in the forthcoming CPITS 50th anniversary anthology

November 2 prompt: This is my body

: was a time when the fall was punctuated with the stacking of firewood. My grandmother at the cross saw horse, me stacking neat cords of wood against the wall of the shed. She eventually sawed through the sawhorse. We changed jobs, I sawed, she stacked wood. As I made a kindling pile, I stomped on a branch to break it in two, and the flexible end whipped around an pierced my upper lip. Two inches away from blindness I was that day.

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