Home Heating

A clear blue gem of a January day
Annie Mae’s kitchen. Breakfast time – Hooray!
She’s looking out her window, I’m taking in the view
She turns and says, “That thing’s askew”
And clicks her tongue, calculatingly

“Neither leaf nor bud, it’s dead and gone
The wood would burn with the bark still on
And it’s leaning so…precipitously”

“Not a whisper of wind, no neighbours around
Shall we go lay that big ash down?”
She laces her boots, enticingly

“Anne Mae”, I say, “I got a maul in the car
I got a 260 Stihl with a good straight bar
Providing 2-stroke reliability”

“Picture it down and the brush hauled away
Imagine the scene at the end of the day
If we do this… industriously”

“I’d get the wood, you’d get the view
It works for me, if it works for you”

“Aahh”, she says, “reciprocity”

It’s half-past four, and just as we said
Chunked, split and stacked in the lee of her shed
And all leans to amber in waning daylight
Good straight grain and the length just right

While back at window, sweaters entangled,
The satisfied glow of the truly bedraggled
Coffee perking, dumplings steaming
The makings of a pleasant evening

Enter the Muse…insouciantly

“Far be it from me, of course, to presume
That yard, like this house, has plenty of room
Consider what’s coming. A south facing lee
Is a fine pretty place for hardwood to be
These BTUs, essentially free,
Could stay ’till the spring…comfortably.”

Bernard Irvin