American Loggers, 1939
The deep green river chokes
on backwoods bounty, churning
its industry downstream to the mill.
In the creamy fading light of day: silence.
No more rhythmic thump of axes; their report
startling birds from branches. Quiet enough
to smell pitch bleeding from pines
and the sweet perfume of felled wood.
Five men rest callused palms
on long-necked tools, rooted to their stillness.
The youngest poses hand on hip, eyes
on tomorrow’s prey: treetops grazing the sky.
He will set a rigging, strap the harness, cinch buckles
to shimmy feet-first up the scaled hide of trunk;
climb higher than the owl’s nest to amputate
mossy limbs one by one and then,
with forest’s enormity at his feet, count
its rings: 200, 250, until he loses track.
Connie Soper has come back to poetry after a long hiatus. Her poems have previously appeared in Calyx, Willamette Week, San Francisco Guardian, Adirondack Review and elsewhere. She is also the author of a non-fiction book, Exploring the Oregon Coast Trail. She divides her time between Portland and Manzanita, Oregon. She loves and is continually inspired by the time she spends at the Oregon Coast.
The Ekphrastic Review
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