Thin Dry Spruce

In January blizzards, with the wind
out of the northwest for days bringing
poles down on the County Line Road,
he’d load the wood stove with slabs,
thin dry spruce, sit in the dark, deaf
to the constant gunfire crack of resin,

deaf to the rush and rattle of sparks up
the stovepipe, blind to its cherrying tin,
hands cupped around strong tea laced
with old black rum while flakes of ash
fell slowly down from the cigarette in
his mouth to float on the tea, dim stars.

He’d stare down into the mug as one
might stare into a dry well’s dark mouth
in August, or up into the storm of stars
whitening the cold black skies of autumn
and never say what he saw in the tea,
whether it was the trails of tracer shells

arcing across the night skies of Korea
or the glow of a cigarette in a foxhole.
He’d load more slabs in the stove, light
another smoke, sip the cooling tea, move
the rum bottle a little closer, wait for
the storm to stop, or the house to burn.

About John MacKenzie

I'll mumble for ya. Poetry, plus most things quantifiable: science, neuroscience, memory, epistemology, baseball. And so on.
This entry was posted in Art is lies, Cosmology, Death, John MacKenzie, Korean War, New poems, Poem tweets, Poetry, Poverty, Protest poems, Social Commentary, Space, The Sky, The Wind, Veterans, War, War poems, Winter and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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