Issue > Poetry
Matthew Wimberley

Matthew Wimberley

Matthew Wimberley is a native of North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains. His chapbook, Snake Mountain Almanac, was selected by Eduardo C. Corral as the winner of the 2014 Rane Arroyo Chapbook Contest from Seven Kitchens Press. A finalist for the 2012 Narrative 30 Below Contest, his writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Greensboro Review, The Missouri Review, Narrative, Orion, The Paris-American, Poet Lore, Puerto Del Sol, Rattle and Verse Daily. Wimberley received his MFA from NYU where he worked with children at St. Mary's Hospital as a Starworks Fellow.

Sawyer

Morning shakes from a pine grove,
a mule stamps down a path of needles
and pulls a saw-cart to the felling site.
The men take cross-cut saws and go to work.
A fire built to burn scrap and bark
and the first milled beams put up
to keep back rain.
Faces coated in ash—the men taste
sand-grit, no breeze keeps mosquitos
from soaked backs and no turpentine
for sap-covered hands. Years
train into bone, a set of instructions.
My grandfather says he still smells
fresh cut timber and charcoal, hears the blade
cutting into tree rings like silverfish
eating through pages of an old book.
When he takes off his glasses
to polish on an unbuttoned shirtsleeve,
he tells me to get his saw from the shed.
But we cleared the shed out after his last fall—
boxed up oil-cans and screw drivers
sold the lawnmower and ladders.
He can't remember what happened
to the millstone once half-buried
in the dirt. I tell him his daughter has it.
Out the window
a dogwood gives up a few leaves
to the wind. They drift toward
the ground—he's telling me
how it feels to pull a saw.

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