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
without measuring.
I went to the orchard on Route 5
and bought peaches for canning.
The kitchen smells of sweetness,
furry skins sloughed off with blanching,
floor juice-sticky.
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. 

                             Sarah Russell
                               First published in The Houseboat




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