Monday, May 2, 2011
My grandpa lived upon a hill
Just out of town, beyond the bend
Where freeway joins the old state road,
Where land once his now speeds us home
By right of eminent domain.
For ten years after Grandma died
The hill that still was his became
A dumping ground for logging loads:
Douglas fir, alder, cedar, pine,
Madrona, maple, cherry, oak,
Not prime wood, just the leftovers,
From timber friends who fell with him
And understood how much he missed
The woodlands that he once had roamed
Before her death, when coming home
Meant supper on, suspenders down,
Just not enough said to her, whose
Unexpected future silence
Surpassed the disinterest he shared.
He told me that he spoke to her
When he took flowers to her grave.
I never asked him to reveal
Those thoughts, just asked for his split wood
Stacked in ricks and cords, a solid
Stockade from the freeway below.
We’d load my trunk, share Rainier beer
I’d brought for him, and then we’d stare
At what he best knew how to do.
I’d pay him—I always paid him—
Shake his huge hand and drive away
For months. Near the end he grew weak,
Lost control of his spindly legs,
And when he bent down concrete steps
He’d gain such speed he’d have to hurl
Himself against his truck, or earth,
To stop what he couldn’t alone.
He’d arise, jerk start his chain saw,
Cut logs he could carry, and build
Another perfect pyre to life.