Oak logs piled
I remember it in rows
Mossy, wet, sharp fresh cuts to the grain
Woodcut scent fills my head
Endless trips, driveway to back porch, back porch to driveway
Whistle of the bark against my winter coat
Safety cone orange and white reflector piping
Sisters holding, packing, putting down, repeat, repeat
After-school clouds, late autumn gray, build above us
Holding, packing, putting down, dripping water, drip-drop
Then she takes pity. Finish it tomorrow, she says.
Wood stove welcoming, iron hunk, strong legs, warm as a heartbeat
Fingers defrosting, stinging cheeks softening
The stove draws us in, holds us, expelling intoxicating heat
Irresistible spittle drops, hot stove surface, watch it dance, sizzle.
No more, she said. No hugging on the stove. It's bad for you.
Rain outside, hissing wood on fire
Boiling soup, hot brown mugs, steamed windows. Home.