Warm You Twice

Before the fire, wood
arrives in the converted bed
of a pickup truck, scarred
paint a match for hands
that wrench the tailgate free.
“Extra to stack it,” he says.
We act like we knew this
and tell him no
thanks no
we’ve got it. Soft
enough to feel every shard
of dried earth in the seams
of mismatched gloves, our skin
is that of readers
whose storybook logs
bear no relation to these
splintered, spidered slabs.
Soon, my wrists are webbed
with crimson welts and my chest
bruised where I press next winter’s
heat against my body
for balance, stumbling up three
porch steps a dozen
times past the last count to wedge
in the next piece of this mosaic
of flame
latent
and near.
 

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