by Heather Cousins

My father paid me five cents
for every two logs I hauled
to the basement and stacked
for the long winter.
Down the side-hill
to the back door, I carried
sharp split wedges, I carried
rhombuses, I carried
small rounds
like wooden arms. I watched
for the black stars of spiders.
My feet trampled the grass
flat and silver. I carried
dead wood, that fell
from my hands and chest.
Beneath my face was gold.
Under the bark were
the black letters of burn-work,
hidden paths, calligraphy of worms.
I carried fifty-six, I carried
fifty-seven, I carried
fifty-eight. I carried
two or three at once.
The wind greeted me going down
and pushed my hair back,
left a blessing on my forehead.
My arms grew knots and burned
like torches. I carried
the fire.

Heather Cousins holds an AB from Bryn Mawr College, an MA from the Writing Seminars of Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD from the University of Georgia. Her first book, Something in the Potato Room, was published by Kore Press in 2009. Originally from Bear Lake, Michigan, she currently lives in Georgia.