My winter wood has been stacked for months, drying
in the summer sun. On this northern desert there is no rain,
nearly no dew. When winter comes, the snow is so cold
that no water can enter the wood. Gloveless, I brush
the dry powder from atop the stack. There is neither
roof nor walls to protect it. Squirrels run in and out
of the pile and neighborhood children struggle to pull
a few thin pieces out and use them as swords or guns.
No one has ever stolen any of my wood but I like to believe
someone could. If a person were really cold he could step quietly
under cover of night through my gate and into my silent yard.
There is the wood! Bits of bark lie dark on the white snow.
My visitor’s boots crackle as he walks. By the woodpile
is a wheelbarrow. Whoever is there slowly lifts each log
and sets it down in the cart. When the wood touches the metal
there is a ringing as of a bell, but softly so that,
though I hear, I only smile slightly and turn in my sleep.