requiem for a brittlegum

Sweat drips down my face,
my back,
between my breasts.
Sawdust collects in my boots,
soft and grainy
between my toes.

But my back has begun to ache,
and my concentration slip,
so I release the trigger,
and watch the chain slow,
and stop.

The fresh-cut wood
smells sweet and pungent.
The heartwood is deep pink
the outer yellow,
the skin, silver.

And I sorrow for this tree,
its heartwood already paling,
fading
through pale pink,
on its way to lifeless grey.

With the bushfires last summer we’ve extended our fire break. I hate having to take down trees, and realistically we’ll never be able to defend the house in a big fire. But the wider the firebreak, the better the chance the house has, and the better the chance we have to get out. 

I wrote a lot of poems during the fire season – the longest and worst ever – but they were a bit raw to post at the time, when we constantly had bags packed ready to leave. Maybe it’s time to revise some and put them up here.    

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