Atlee's Poplar

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Atlee’s Poplar

Trash wood he should never have cut lay piled
by the back fence where it would stay for years
through his and his wife’s deaths, the house’s sale,
then demolition and rise of two more,
each far grander in size and pretension
though flimsy and with no real stoves. The wood
did not rot, or not entirely. It stayed
till a few hired workers carried it out
onto the curb as a contract extra
and the new owners scrawled a paper sign:
Free, which is always something of a lie.
I don’t know how many loads I hauled home
to pile in my own back corner. The wood
is mostly light as balsa, splits poorly,
and may very well not burn worth a damn,
but I won’t see his work get thrown away.