It’s never the snap of the wedge that shuts my eyes, but the stopped maul in the stump. The recall of force: shoulder to wood, wood to shoulder, a dent. That thwap. Dad drags sweat off his forehead with the maul-handle, asks me to split the rest, leans on the truck hood. He’d set out one November morning with the chainsaw, drop a few rotten trees across the yard. The blade bleated against each trunk. A scream of ants. Last year, he cut up five trees. I piled the good logs—those not bleeding bugs, those wet and hot and polished on each slit-end— next to the house. Now, by the fire, my finger reads timber memories in the cavities of a stumpface: how the veins in Dad’s arm were like train ties, how they flared with blood. [End Page 68]
Born in Superior, Wisconsin, Jacob Lindberg is an MFA student at the University of Arkansas and a recipient of the James T. Whitehead Award for Poetry. He serves as the Director of Outreach for The Arkansas International. His poetry is forthcoming in The Pinch.