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Clear Cut: Forester, a poem by Katherine V. Wills

Clear Cut: Forester 

I told him to hire Amish loggers 
Because their horses pull  
Heavy logs and stumps 
Not like machinery  
Or skids that ravish 
The forest floor. 
These stout men 
Read the trees, 
With their loyal Bucephalus 
Cutting and clearing side-by-side.  
“Ya ya yaa, gee up” 
Horses billowing breath 
Hooves precariously slip sliding in mud. 
The forester’s horses were named 
Moonlight, Midnight, and Adam. 
Years later you decided to trim 
That one thick branch overhanging 
The pine decking. 
With your chainsaw hungrily  
Growling into the resistant lateral, 
With an engineer’s geometry, 
By all dead reckoning, 
The branch should have fallen 
You and I escaped into heartwood— 
Only the beating heart of the felled tree.  

Katherine V. Wills (Katerina Tsiopos) is an English professor at Indiana University/Purdue University, Columbus, In. Her poetry has been published previously in Flying Island and she has worked with Reservoir Dogwood Poets and many south central Indiana writers. 

Image via: Vergara, Camilo J, photographer. Forest. [Between 2000 and 2019] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.