For a Misplaced Hatchet

Kevin Casey

The metronome of its ashen handle

counted time against my thigh as I walked,

but at some point it stopped, and I did not.

A half hour’s search among the poplars

to the north of the pasture, then darkness

drove me home, and so there it remains.

Once the sun had chopped it free from the snow

that spring, flattened shoots of irises grew

about it in a fence, and the damp breath

of soil etched fissures in its lacquer.

Its polished face reflected the flickering

pulse of day and night, until a fretwork

of rust was cut across its mirror,

and warm rains sought to wash it into the mold

as it turned from tool to artifact.

These reveries grow more vivid as it

settles into its bed of dried ferns --

still only misplaced and never lost

so long as it’s kept in mind, a part

of myself split along the grain and left

to watch over that corner of the world.