She sits alone whittling a willow branch. Poplar burns among the hearth stones, soot thickening. Mold blooms in the churn on the porch and the loom catches leaves from gusts. Four vacant beds remain made, their hand-stitched coverlets spread smooth. Her sisters’ hat boxes stacked in neat lines. In the yard, past the corn crib, two deer nose the fall grass, steam rising from their snouts. In the fireplace, a log collapses from its own charred weight. Burning wood and the knife’s blade portioning slices to the flames are her only conversation.
Dan Morris lives in the foothills of the Cascades Mountains east of Seattle. His chapbook, Following the Day, was published by Pudding House Publications. His work has recently appeared in Zone 3, The Penn Review, TheMinnesota Review, Tar River Poetry, and Stoneboat.
Header photo by k_samurkas, courtesy Shutterstock. Photo of Dan Morris by Lumiere Tintype Photography.