When glacial bogs blush with berries
it'll be a hard winter, folks say.
He is cutting down a dead pine near the cabin,
beetle-killed by drought last summer.
His chainsaw knows the hearth's width
I went to the orchard on Route 5
and bought peaches for canning.
The kitchen smells of sweetness,
furry skins sloughed off with blanching,
He comes in for lunch,
fills the room with flannel and sawdust.
"A lot of work," he says.
"Yes," I answer.
We eat warmed over stew.
He cleans his plate with bread crust and pushes back his chair.
"Back at it," he mutters and opens the door.
A cold wind makes gooseflesh on my arms
as I set the pint jars of preserves
in steaming water to make them sterile.
First published in The Houseboat