Packing Wood for a Winter Fire
My pregnant belly leans against the woodpile.
Within me, my son kicks cradled wood.
The bundle topples, leaving splinters
in my purple knitted mittens. My splitting maul
strikes block, hitting wedge—steel to steel—
I breathe in whorled seasons
as ice shards shatter like breaking china.
With each swing and crack, he jumps;
a movement long past his quickening.
Indoors, the white-hot stove revels in yellow-cedar
sap dripping onto coals.
I scoot my rocking chair nearer,
soothed by hissing ice atop the black iron stove.
I lift my shirt to massage my belly,
drawing soot blackened shapes to skip
in the flush of firelight, silhouettes atop pavilion
walls, knowing soon he'll leave
this body-refuge, capturing traces of me—
the snap of a winter fire and my mother-scent of cedar.
--Vivian Faith Prescott