On cold nights, I watched my dad light a fire
in the charcoal-colored stove that stood
on a bricked platform in the living room.
The flames warmed my face as they licked
the almond wood and crumpled newspaper.
My dad often took me with him to an orchard
somewhere in Modesto. Bundled in my red hooded jacket
and winter gloves, I dangled my legs over the tailgate
of our white ’67 Chevy.
I watched him pull the starter cord several times
before the chainsaw groaned to life. The chain tore
into the dry flesh of the branches and spit gold dust
all over him and on the ground.
After the tree was dismembered, I helped load the bed
of the truck, scraping my small wrists on the marred wood.
When we were done, we hopped back into the cab,
and listened to Cash on the way back home.
© Josslyn Turner
This poem also appears in the 2018 issue of Penumbra Art & Literary Journal.