How to Stoke a Fire
Holden Villege, February 2013
Kathryn Smith  (bio)

Tell your friends you’re leaving. Let them believe
it’s a hard life you’ll lean toward, work-wrought
and spare. Send postcards that take three days longer
to arrive, ink smeared, barely legible across the back of an
impassable peak: It’s unlike anything you can
imagine. Say how quiet fills the cradle
of a mountain basin. How snow swallows
your boots. Then stop writing. Sign your name in a snowfield
and let new snow erase it. Count the trees along the ridgeline.
Count the logs you carry, the splinters
decorating your palms. Tell your life story
between loads of wood. Tell it again
and change the ending. Laugh. Grieve. Laugh harder. Let a room
swell so full of song it presses you out.
Spend an hour watching smoke, how wind
carries it down the valley. How it lifts us up.

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