Michelle Cameron


The tangled limbs refuse
to die, you need a hatchet
and a strong hand to hack
them into pieces, to haul
them up, against your protesting
body, and pile them, all sap
and fungus, twigs
and whipping branches,
in a pile to wait for spring.

Your son runs when you struggle,
scrambles around to drag the back end,
calls for you to keep on moving
through wet slush,
boots filling, knees creaking,
a slam against your side
certain to form a bruise that's slower,
now, to fade.

Branches brush the snowy ground,
reach out towards living timber,
wrap themselves in a silent, shivering
embrace, reluctant to leave the land
that has been their only world
for decades. The unfamiliar ground
hurts them, still alive despite the crash,
the splintering wood, the long descent
on that cold, white night.

Your own casting off evident
next day, in your legs, your arms,
where the trunk of your spine radiates pain,
as you huddle under the temporary shelter
of a strong roof, next to the slow hiss
of a dying fire.

Date of Birth: June 19, 1958
Location: Chatham, New Jersey
Occupation: Creative Director
Email: mcameron@gti.net
Website: http://www.noretreat.org/mec/
Publications: The Paterson Literary Review, Ink Pot, Lilith, UNO, Samsara Quarterly, 2River View, flashquake, Literary Potpourri, The Paumanok Review
Book: In the Shadow of the Globe, December 2003, Lit Pot Press, Inc.
Awards: Editor's Choice 2002 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest; Best of Stirring Year Three

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