Stoking the stove, she sighs
as the wood box empties its treasure
forcing a trip to the dark and cold,
hostage to a pile that dwindles.
Wood that keeps the drafts away
making the ancient teakettle sing
its song of warmth persuading her
all is well, a hymn she's never sung.
She lays the rocks inside the oven
their heat a later gift at the feet
of children whose bones are chilled
innocent of the danger that hovers.
Danger that lays in subzero nights
in chimneys that haven't been cleaned
she'll rise later to add more wood
for now she closes her eyes and prays.
Connie Russell was born and raised in the Chippewa Valley, working in the Eau Claire Area School District for 25 years. She has published her memoir, Happily Ever After, as well as articles in Volume One and Chippewa Valley Family. To learn more, reach her at email@example.com.
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