local_library Hardwood Heart

by Gary Layton

Published in Issue No. 236 ~ January, 2017

Charred pine.

Broiled redwood.

Bark, bitten off and bruised.

Tree rings weep for

their ash on skin.

A scolding furnace of smoke and sap.



a blade for the logs,

lumber, lovers,

tree huggers with burning limbs.

An axe, a saw, a scalpel.

Peel away the embers,

the splinters,

the singed nerves,

find that glowing organ,

the hardwood heart.

The spiral flood of shelter and warmth.

Air in the punctured lung.

Blood under burning bark,

next to the rotting stumps.

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I'm underweight, underpaid, and overly contemplative. I play the guitar and write creatively. I like the X Files and I eat my cereal without milk. Some nights, I dream of a world where mayonnaise doesn't exist.