Self-Reliance

A man can clear the land himself, can mill
timber he’s felled and sticker it to boards,
letting it dry until the twists are gone,
in makeshift solar kilns pitched facing south.

I’ve seen it done. Followed the images:
he built the woodshop first. It took some time,
but once he got the roof up, he could spend
even a winter’s day in crafting beams.

He started on the house. An illness slowed
most progress, but he got it framed in spring
and moved on to the roof. The autumn rains
came early, while one side was still exposed.

What haunts me now are pictures of his hands
twisted by work, too weak to lift the adze,
much less to spike a beam. The images
grow sparse. A last one tracks the drifting snow.

 

About W.F. Lantry

W.F. Lantry, a native of San Diego, spent many years walking the deserts and climbing the mountains of Southern California. Now he spends time in the Eastern Forests from Maryland to Vermont and practices woodworking near the Anacostia River. He holds a PhD in Writing from the University of Houston. His poetry collections are The Structure of Desire (Little Red Tree 2012) winner of a 2013 Nautilus Award in Poetry, a chapbook, The Language of Birds (Finishing Line 2011) and a forthcoming collection, The Book of Maps. Recent honors include the National Hackney Literary Award in Poetry, Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize (in Israel), and Potomac Review Prize.His work has appeared in Atlanta Review, Asian Cha, Inspired by Tagore Anthology, Möbius and Aesthetica. He currently works in Washington, DC. and is an associate fiction editor at JMWW. More at: wflantry.com.
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