Friday, January 23, 2009

What we do before anything else

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The Wood Stove ~ Andrew Wyeth

The Wood Stove

Waiting is what we do before we do anything else.
Little in this life comes without it. We open doors
to see trees exactly where they were the day before,
holding ground, stubborn as hornets on a cold day.

It isn’t imperative to brush hair with the wind up.
Better to bother a chair, stare the window smooth,
and wait for what little comes. Nothing to boil, we
keep still iron company and listen to tocs tick away.

A reclused house might wait a lifetime to tell you
there are some thresholds you can never cross.
Mornings like this extend themselves the day through
for no reason other than to give waiting its due time.

There are strews of unstacked wood with no place to
go but to the stove you’ve no tinder to light, nor will
to circumscout. So you will keep a westerly gaze, sun
seated at your back warming whatever is draped there.

You will forget what is in the sack atop the oil-slicked
hood as creosote inches the flue so slowly you can hear
it. Perhaps later, when the waiting continues, you’ll rise
to feed the cold stove, set a kettle, wait the cup empty.

Joseph Gallo
January 21, 2009

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