barely 10 degrees Fahrenheit outside
55 in the dimly lit room,
cold air echoing from the windows.
No fire has yet been started in the stove upstairs,
but downstairs, in the laundry room--
an ash log, not fully consumed in the night,
its underbelly still glowing red.
Winding some packing paper around cedar chips,
wielding the ax to split several slender strips
now set atop the paper, near the burning embers,
and still more wood placed upon the heap.
Soon a fire burns brightly in that large stove,
then some cedar and pine set beside the fire,
flue fully open, door ajar, to build a blaze,
split wood waiting and ready to burst aflame.
Not so upstairs, no red coals smoldering
cold metal feeling hard as death,
the night’s last log barely burned
yet lying lifeless in its ashen grave.
No embers to kindle a new fire here,
nothing to stir up into dancing flames--
no fire, no warmth, no friendliness
to warm my outside and soul within.
What shall I do? Half awake I must wonder--
scraps of paper, slivers of hewn cedar,
and smaller limbs from a felled pine tree--
a match, a flame, some wind, then fire.
Fire burning by my side, warming
slowly penetrating out through the chill air,
light from flames crackling, expanding metal:
and I, too, rekindled at 0400.