Morning Poem, September 26, 2014

My hour of labor goes faster when mornings are dark

The oak splits cleaner in the cold

Smoke from the kitchen fire reminds me that breakfast awaits

The smell itself is almost food to me


I hurry to keep from freezing

Stand the log-piece upright on the blade-ravaged stump

And stroke and strike and hear

the crackle of the frigid, rigid branch

As grain gives way

And strand breaks from strand

I bask in my own strength

and in this dark loneliness


The stack of stovewood almost covers the back wall now

Only two feet from the eave

Each stob-end the cell of a honeycomb


I would rest if it were up to me

But dad says to keep going

He’ll tell me when we have enough.


When the mornings are brighter

One day he’ll say “no more wood”

And that will be it for the year


I’ll watch my piles dwindle

As the summer comes on

And the fires are only a memory.

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