“The poetry of Judith Janoo’s After Effects speaks within the silent spaces she has so compassionately
provided as we are left to contemplate, in safety, our own histories. Sounds echo like images
she catches in countless mirrors…” Peggy Sapphire

Judith Janoo, poet and author

Stacking Wood

Afternoons, after the day’s
flame burns down to ash
and wind, after setting
the gardens to rest as the sun
narrows its angle, its flight
equaling night, this month
once swollen with wagonloads
of mown hay, crisping light
now half-shadowed
by the eleventh.
I tackle the woodpile,
mound drying since early spring,
fire-lengths of maple, ash, birch,
one thick chunk,
that’s all it takes to start,
that’s all my arms can hold.

The first row on pallets for airflow,
coarse, split, no two wedges
the same, but fitted
between two rock maples,
bookends against the drop of light
and months ahead when
it feels like it’s all
coming down.

Smell of moss,
pepper, feel of leather,
splinters of sand.
Alone stacking bones
to last out the cold.
Comfort of stacking 
between trees once keeping 
my father’s firewood
pausing chest high,
spying the iron wagon wheel
rusting against the shed, I lift it 
onto the shelf of hardwood,
making a window through the woodpile,
framing in the silence of the mountains.
A look out onto the far pasture where
neighbor’s Holsteins graze,
past the clapboard cape of the widow
who needs help getting her wood in.
I cinch in the view with winter’s gold,
building round and higher
 until it frames sky 
purpling over stands of balsam
and cedar, green incense of winter,
softening this hardwood wall.

After Effects, published by Finishing Line Press, 2019
available to order: after-effects-by-judith-janoo
or by email: judithjanoo@gmail.com