Friday, November 13, 2009


last night brian put the coffeepot
on the parlor-size woodstove
and flipped the lid back on its hinges
to sit open–
not for coffee
to put a little moisture in the air–

we burn wood from pallets
we break with a heavy castiron counterweight
for a large window–
we also burn
scraps from dumpsters–things found
on the street–leftovers from construction
or demolition–the bequest of luck
or looking–easy kindling–
nothing so substantial as the rings
wrapped in a tree–
all through the time
grandma and grampa had an indoor woodstove
there sat a two-handled shallow aluminum pan
regularly filled with water
run into a quart mason jar
and poured
into a flat pan for increased surface area–

moisture infused into the house
to compensate for water lost
when wet particles collide
with the firebox and stovepipe
and dry the air–

the Dead Sea evaporates–
salt makes crystalline formations
where water once stood
the most buoyant in the world–

the house rests
near the summit
on a soft sidewinding ridge–
a limestone foothill
of what becomes the Ozarks–
mountains sunken so old
they lack the stature
of more than hills–
topography built
on limestone foundations–

the well runs deep
400 feet to pierce
the water table–
strata honeycombed
by water
and weight of land–

as water from the flat pan
calcium deposits,
caught in solution
and piped upward
to the top of the ridge,
in the hard water
produce crystalline formations
on the sides and bottom
of the pan–
the formations
are thin and brittle
like stalactites
in dripping caverns–

tonight, in Brooklyn,
when i started
a kindling blaze,
braced by heavier scraps,
i added water–
in the coffeepot
steam forms slowly
to escape
in unpredictable circles
that rise
like heat–

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