The Cord Cometh

Watching the fire
I think of the glamorous
town wood
some people have,
the split oak
neatly stacked,
its smooth sides
gleaming in the cold day.

We burn avocado limbs –
and trunks –
unsplit, even when
large enough to do so,
crooked and covered
with dirt,
the failed dreams
of a local grower
who shows up
with his whole family
and backs his bulging
pick-up down the driveway
to the gate,
his wife signaling him
when to stop.

Bodies dismount then
and there is a scurry
of wood stacking
for the next hour or so,
children, and their friends
along for the ride
in their soccer uniforms,
to the cobwebby corners
beneath our rickety old house
to stack what the adults throw under,
one person working
from the bed of the truck,
the others carrying
to their respective sides
of the house.

There is a certain excitement
to the coming of the wood,
the way our parents,
or maybe theirs, may have run
to meet the ice man.
Shirts come off,
brows are wiped, the pace of work
quickens, then slows,
then quickens again.
It seems insurmountable,
endless at first,
and then we are done,
and I serve cider
in paper cups.