Ceremony of Trees

by Amy Brian

Firewood burning

Having faith in my socks
I leave my shoes scattered somewhere
in the home’s warm core—under
the tangled feet of the dining room chair, maybe?

And step out into the breath of a January evening
to gather in the split timber
contentedly piled by foreseeing stiff and chilled fingers
to adorn our front porch with provision
and confidence of a flame.

Beyond the right-now-warmth I seek,
I harvest two beech slices–their silver skins clutching loosely
to assure their seasoned state,
and one large maple chunk to hold back the cold
length of night. A stacking of sacrificial wood
meant to deliver us from winter’s damnation.

And in the spring I will touch hands to the barks of
striving trees, remembering the dead ones
that brought me out from the depth of combative temperature.
This, at least, is required of me.

It is in this ceremony that I acknowledge
that I am warmed. Kept yet again
for the promise of another rising, another awakening of
the earth that sheds frost for the yawning of flowers
and unbuttoning of tree buds. Signifying how

death maintains existence, confirms life.
In my mind there lingers, always, the thud of
a tree when it is severed from roots and
it kisses the earth in the name of
my provision.

Category: Featured, Poetry