It is time to gather sticks of wood
so we can cook the sap that we have drawn from the earth.
We will bore holes into the maple trees
collect buckets, stir the froth as it boils.
Then we'll finish it on the stove in the barn.
We will do this together
balancing the heavy iron vat
pouring the hot syrup
tasting the sweetness.
We did it through the pregnancies, the births.
Let's do it once again.
And then we will cultivate the honey bees
and tend to the alfalfa in the fields.
It will be the best of times once more
fourteen loads of fresh hay
and my hair will be long and we will collect raspberries
and make a pie.
The garden will yield a bumper crop of beets and basil
and we will split wood all fall
and stack it
and be ready for the winter
when you will weave a blanket on your loom
with dog hair and horse hair and my hair
and some dyed wool too.
And I will nurse the babies by the fire
and neither of us will grow older
and we will never forget
and nothing will ever die.
We need to gather sticks now
and build a fire quickly
before the season passes on
before the field
where you are sleeping
Winner of the Atlanta Review International Poetry Award