by Carolin Messier


As I turn and try to cut away
the burls and grain of my weathered heart,
it splits and splinters
at the touch of tools grown dull
from the effort, the repeated struggle to understand
where comprehension has petrified
into hardened knots of ingrown limbs
and twisted roots of why?

A novice am I, no master
of the wet stone and grinding wheel,
leaving my chisels and gouges
unequal to the task of this new art of living
unable to slice through
the density of losses hardened on losses.

Each piece spins off-center today,
the wood mimicking my own
rudderless imbalance
catches the tip of my blade
and cracks, again.

I’ve learned to surrender
and lay down my imperfect tools
when after three hours
instead of the pile of toys
imagined by my inner child
lies a single, lonely, spinning top
and a mound of sawdust.