We are born on family trees

Twigs on branches on limbs

Knit deep into the gnarled trunk

Deeper than earth can tell in sod

What no one knows is told

By grain running deep in us 


Grain no one can even see

Except those who know us

When the thick bark is pared back

In acts of self-destruction or injury

Then when the wood weeps

Onto the lover’s sticky hands


Life lops us from the limb

Dries us in suffering’s kiln

Turns us on the lathes of hard utility

Until we emerge as wooden widgets

Spokes on carriage wheels

Or poles that hold up beans


Would that in our autumn

The leaves would turn again

Green to amber gold to carmine red

Over the mirrored surface of a pond

Where the rowboats of lovers

Drift derelict in afternoon sun


That at last raked in rows

We might feel the warmth

Of that final fire smoldering so low

Filling the evening with a blue haze

Scented of sweet pitch sod

Clinging to a woman’s hair


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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One Response to Hardwood

  1. masterful organic metaphors


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