The crows call out
as I carry wood
from my neighbor’s wood
pile to my hearth.
I have run out
of the lot we shared
and so must borrow theirs,
which makes me remember
the Eudora Welty character
who went to “borry fire.”

Eucalyptus burns fast
and I get very cold in winter,
especially in this house
with uninsulated walls,
where once again I have fallen
for the illusion of shelter,
not knowing how to recognize
the real thing.

Thirteen trips it takes
and, as is my way,
it is not until I’m nearly done
that I see the easy path
to the pile.

I study the fallen blossoms
from the tree as I go up the step,
across my small yard into theirs,
down a step, along the porch
and into the woodpile
beneath the acacia tree.

I remind myself
to practice silence
as I work,
a slim but significant
from being quiet.

In silence I see myself,
a woman living alone
despite appearances.
It would seem to be
spring outside,
but inside winter
As I finish,
a woodpecker overhead
begins to rat a tat.
If you carry the wood
you don’t need to burn it,
I think he says.
Even so I light the fire,
and from that,
a stick of incense.