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spacer.gif   Jared Smith
Posted by : cj on Friday, December 03, 2004 - 09:32 AM
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Poetry:  Click On The Author's Name Controlled by Ghosts

The snows came in early over Monarch this year;
cold right behind them, whittling away at the firewood.
I stacked it extra high this year, seeing how thick the fur grew on the fox,
I dragged dead aspens down the hill and chopped them up, piled them up
as long as my heart could take it this year; just until one day when I said
that's enough; that'll do it now;
and I went blank deep down in my bones and went inside and lit a fire.

The snows came in early this year, though, even so,
and the cold; it was so cold. And the snow was so deep you couldn't get out,
you couldn't climb the hills after awhile even when the sun was out.
You couldn't climb the hills to pull down any more wood, even if you had the heart.
The woodpile just kept getting smaller one day's heat at a time.
And the wind, it just kept coming in through the chinks in the wall,
so I'd sit there at night burning as little wood as I could and huddled
until my mind started wandering and I'd think about you
I'd think about you and Pete going down to the store last winter,
his arm bringing you in under the wind when you turned the corner,
not that I could see that much up behind the aspens where I worked.

My whole life has been controlled by ghosts;
that's mostly what I think about as I take the last chord of wood, piece by piece,
take it in and pile it by the cast iron stove your momma bought.
It was a Christmas present the year we built this house, black and hard,
sitting here in the middle of our home waiting for winter.
Well, it came, of course. It came early that year as well
but of course there was a thaw come February like there usually is.
Not this year, though, with the woodpile all but gone.
I saw Pete, I think, yesterday way down the road,
saw him walking almost lightly over the snow as if it wasn't deep at all,
standing near the corner where the two of you used to pause,
looking like he wasn't sure where he was meant to be going now.
Then gone, of course. I suppose I should have got more wood,
but I thought I'd got enough; always did before.
There's a first time always, I guess, the cold comes down
and stays around until it finds what it's looking for.

("Controlled by Ghosts" also appears in the Spring issues of Trail & Timberline magazine.}


 
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