First, what we need to know is the winter’s
sleet has compressed the wood harder
than the sun ever could.
No, the axe is not violent, hanging in the shed.
It’s not a wolf, not given to madness
like the human, in a word, built wrong. It will
not run. What does it do? You, reader,
might at this point consider
the fact that the axe’s sharpened edge
gleams in the dull moonlight spilling
over it. The mustard seed
handle is rough and requires a gloved
hand to hold it. But whose hand? And,
still, for what? The axe doesn’t
care what you think of it.
It’s correct in all the ways it needs
to be, and it can wait and wait. Spring
will drain the mud away, pull
the freeze out of the ground
and throw it to a wider world higher
than the axe can go. And the axe,
being an axe, will hang on its rusty hook
while the trees grow, gleam in their
coming green. As axes
go, this axe is not reputable, but its well
is deep. Dead tree? In need of a heraldic
symbol? Home invader? Go, tell it
what you need. Go, pick it up. Go,
give a swing. What’s it for? Swing it again.
Again. Go, swing again.