Chainsaw Lament
by Lowell Jaeger 

My sister’s pious stepson visits and stays
one morning too long. Over breakfast
I snipe at his Christian College’s
easy answers—because the Bible says so.
He's collected. My pulse quickens,
sharpens to whittle him down. Till
his shoulders cave, eyes go blank.

With my chainsaw's ragged-throat rage,
an hour later I'm dropping dead wood
for the small thrill to see it fall. And spy
a venerable buckskin larch, particularly thick
and reaching above the others. Irresistible.

I launch in, my saw's bar too short
to make this graceful. Bark so massive
it takes a bucket of sweat to chisel into the giant's
woody core. Till it moans and topples.

I shut the engine. Deathly quiet,
but for my heartbeat's drum. I'd cut him
to the ground. Not just his simple faith. Not
the slump in his spine as he left
the room. Something bigger.

Beetles file out from bore holes in the stump.
Stagger in daylight. Crushed juneberry branches
still in bloom, twitch and sway. I watch
small leaves on the forest floor watching me.

All of us uncertain what's to come.
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About barkingsycamores 183 Articles
Barking Sycamores is a literary journal entirely edited and operated by queer neurodivergent people of color. We publish poetry, artwork, short fiction (beginning with Issue 3), creative nonfiction (beginning with Issue 8), and hybrid genre work (beginning with Issue 9) by emerging and established neurodivergent writers as well as essays on neurodiversity and literature and book reviews (beginning with Issue 10).

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