When the axe hangs from the hand
the axe takes heart, or rather
takes up residence behind the heart,
folded in the possibility
of disuse. At rest,
left to bite continually
into the dead marrow of a truncated tree,
it anticipates the moment
someone will force open a mouth
of air, make the axe resume
a kind of assisted chewing.
You should know that the axe has eyes
like the eyes of prey, one on either side of its head.
It is always looking out.
When the blunt end
sculpts a union between two rigid objects
the blade rides back into the pleasure of it,
the gaveling away of the necessity
of splitting new categories
out of settled types. Hanging, there is the chance
that someone will lay it down
flat on the grass, where it will be framed, for once,
without a chalk line
hemming it in on a pegboard.
The axe at rest, almost
a stalk in the new grass.
Its weight gone,
held by the ground. When this happens
some of the dead quicken,
to perform a gesture
First posted on June 1, 2006 6:08 AM