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Sunday, February 21, 2010


by Laura Rodley

Low into the woods he drives his skidder
the seat patched with silver duct tape,
black grease upon the wheels.
It emits a blue smoke that he
does not worry about, a noise he wears
no shields upon his ears to guard against.
He’s been chopping logs for thirty years,
growing apples just the same.
Now they’re sending apples from China
packed in Washington , and bought the train station
between the west and east coast,
at prices lower than he can give.
But here the woods, the prices dropped here
too, wood coming in from Russia ,
but here the woods, the beeches bend down
to him, their tiny burnt orange cones
sidle along the rust red of his skidder,
and the red lines where the forester left
his painted mark tell him which tree to cut.
And he knows how to hold the chainsaw
hefting its weight in his thighs
holding it like a woman caught in a mid-dip swing
her body cutting into the tree, rhumba, rhumba,
the wedge he must cut first, then on the other side
he slices the saw’s teeth through to the heart
where the tree gives way, heaves
with a sigh to the ground, then crashes
snow fliffing up, leaves and branches scattering.
He knows how to do this, to let them down so easy,
he lets them down all over the woods.
The hard maple bends to him, take me,
she says, take me, I want to rest now and he
holds his saw tight, his thighs perched and cuts
straight into her heart, never missing.

Laura Rodley's chapbook Rappelling Blue Light was nominated for a Mass Book Award. Nominated fora Pushcart Prize, her work has been in anthologies, Massachusetts Review and many others. On the advisory board of the Collected Poet Series, she works as a freelance writer and photographer.