When I was young, one of my chores
was to fetch wood for the woodstove.
Often the pieces would freeze together,
so I would have to hammer them apart.
I was small, but the cold was big. The sound
was big, and it’s still out there, waiting around
with the winter. Hammering. The fall
is here; the sound, I hear it now – it falls
into me as I sleep (as simply as leaves
falling into the grass). My husband and I
and our dog sleep piled together like logs.
Even in the light of the harvest moon,
I cannot tell what or who it is that tries
to hammer us apart. Small things chill me.
When my husband stands under the trees,
I cannot tell where he stops and the leaves
begin. We were working on the camper.
I was painting. He stooped with the welder.
He sturdies things – the camper, the trailer,
and I asked him to weld us together.
I held out my arms for him. I got down
on my knees and begged him, but I held
a paint brush in my hand (perhaps he thought
I was painting the camper’s underside),
and the welder was loud, and the wind
was blowing through the trees, and the leaves
looked really pretty in the afternoon light.
Photo by Paula Bailey