For a Misplaced HatchetKevin 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.
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