Tuesday, March 9, 2010


it was the winter and I was sixteen
there was shitload of snow
on the ground
and I wasn’t in school.
instead, I was working for a farmer
earning five dollars an hour
to ride with him out into the woods
and throw brush on a burn pile
while he drove his skidder
tearing trees from the frozen earth.
once he’d cut up a few logs
he’d drag them over to be split
on the splitter
and at this point it became my job
to stand at a distance
then run in and grab the split logs
once they landed.
when the work became monotonous
to the farmer
he’d place the logs on faster
so that I had to really move
to get in and get out
before the next one split
and flew off
and when this also became boring
he’d position the logs
so that they’d split and shoot off
at my head.
when it got to the point
where I was so far behind
that I had to run in and pick up logs
while others launchedfrom the splitter
over my head
the farmer would smile
and say to me, ‘isn’t this great? Out in the woods
enjoying nature at its best?’
I’d look back at him
question his sanity
and think about how I only had two more weeks
until I could quit the farm work
and go back to school
years later, I learned the farmer had died
been opened right up
by a rebellious chainsaw
and bled to death in the woods.
now, here I am, a writer
and a poet at that
earning less money than a farmhand
but still feeding the burn pile

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