by Tamara Best
I know of a wooden snake that zigzags along the trail, down the
lane and along the edge of the marsh.
A marsh, for fuck’s sake
Just off to the side of the ditch, it is running a straight course. Back
and forth, back and forth, as far as my eye can see.
Because that’s what was done
It peeks out at me from behind the tangled growth as I drive along
slowly with one hand on the wheel.
There are sounds
Of axes, crosscut saws
Burly men drenched with sweat
Acrid fire and a drizzling of molasses on the bean stew
Sometimes I think I’m the only one that sees it slithering, crawling
along the ground.
Hour after back-breaking hour
At a stop sign it recoils and buries itself under a pile of rocks.
Another shitty chore
Does it sense its irrelevance? There’s nothing left to protect. Even
the squirrels show their fearlessness.
The wood grain splits open with one hit
And the wedge slips in behind
Drive it to the other end
One strike at a time
I walk in among cedars and see a tail lying next to pieces of spine
that are tumbling under once-open sky.
Gone and turned to dust
My toe catches a root and I stumble, laughing in the silence at my
Like no one was ever here
After an hour, I am tired from thinking how things used to be.
This was work best done
With a neighbour
If for no better reason
Than to keep your spirits up
I almost wave goodbye because I don’t know what else to do.
All that goddamned work
Tamara Best is a self-taught poet that started the process of compiling a full-length manuscript two years ago, after moving to a rural property in Eastern Ontario. An artist and community worker by training, Tamara believes in making poetry that is pleasing to look at as well as meaningful to read.