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David Iasevoli

for Gary Snyder

October—scents whisper hemlock,
apple orchards, gasoline, and bones of fire.
A foetor cleaves to the forest,
rot of leaves and needles, ice to follow.

I hone the axe head found beneath
a woodpile, heartwood unearthed:  rust pocked holes
in the metal—meteoric—
it takes to stone closely, like nails to steel.

A kind of affirmation now:
skies converse with the beeches, the crows laugh,
axe bites through branch and into stump.
Kindling shatters, bliss bubbles out of wood.

My dog grabs a hank of maple.
Perhaps axe, crow, dog, the burst of cuts, stumps,
all wonder at the life left behind from August,
and tell us to breathe this in, and just you wait.


How long did you sit?
The reports
have been mixed,

When we arrived, we
thought you were dead,
or at least too happy
to remain on this sad earth
for long.

A cobra’s molt lay
beside your cruciform ankles: 
external bone, mirror
for your hide.  You
smiled at our concern.

Let’s eat,
we thought we heard you say,
and that dhal bhat never
tasted so good.

D. Iasevoli, former student of Robert Thurman and Natasha Tretheway, lives in the Adirondacks.