Thursday, September 22, 2011


Simply Swing the Axe

When the axe is sharp, chips fly from the log
nearly kindling.  I can watch
three maybe four fragments at a time, each 
with its own trajectory decided haphazardly as I
swing the axe; decided, honestly, an hour before
by how well I honed the blade, by the peach I ate
three days ago, by the fifteen-year old
dream of the short-haired pointer leading me
from the warehouse, through north St. Louis, out
Highway 70 to -- no matter --
each piece I shape and send
journeying, the path of each already
familiar -- the arc,
the twist, change of direction, the early end of those
that slap the pine flat rather
than knife through the needles; even the one 
that nearly attacks me and barely clears my shoulder, I
could if I choose reach back without looking and cradle
in my twisted palm
before it ever
hits the ground. 

What the Coyote Brings

The coyote's walking the dry creek 
below me. He's hairless, his skin
is pink, nearly cracking. I scratch
my chest as I watch:

Winter's coming. Thanksgiving's
Thursday, we'll buy the turkey
today; there'll be new stoneware
on the table this year.

The dogs are in the house
on the couch. Our fat cat's at the window
watching the red-headed woodpecker
tend to the elm in the front yard.

Beside me, in the tumble of split wood, 
the neighbor's cat hunts. 
On a log, crossed and buried, in that tumble, 
an elongated mushroom
droops and wiggles

About Glenn Irwin:
Glenn Irwin has most recently published poems in Innisfree, Puffin Circus, The Zine and short fiction in The River Poets Journal. He lives in St. Louis and teaches writing and literature at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.

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