Monday, September 10, 2012

Preparing for Autumn

The Hot Water Heater
    with apologies to Robert Frost

It was a Robert Frost kind of day:
snowy, dark with deep thinking.
I was hiking up a shallow creek
glazed with ice, a Cabela's-Gore-Tex-booted-foot
occasionally sinking through.
Above me in the flocked tree branches
was a red bird shaking more than snow
upon me. To get to know each other
a little better I wanted to fling stones
at it but they were imbedded in solid ice.
The best I could do
was flip the bird the bird.
The creek twisted up a slight grade
and I crunched along, noting
all winter trees look alike, bare,
even though clothed in diaphanous snow.
There, upon its side, if a cylindrical thing
can have a side, forming a dam,
was a hot water heater, four feet
by two feet, Sears Kenmore, electric,
one-third blue, two-thirds white, lichen-crusted,
a saddle of rust for its cap.
Because I was standing befuddled
in the woods, two miles away from
the nearest logging road, I pondered
the origin of its ownership. Perhaps
it had been jettisoned from a UFO,
or slid from a gaping maw of a cargo plane.
Most likely, it was a hot water heater,
stolen, stashed in the northern Appalachian woods
its would-be owner sitting in a dark
and deep cell, awaiting parole.
A shame, I mused, that this hot water tank
was not standing inside a cozy home
warming someone's dishwater
instead of lying before me
in the cascading ice, the only heat
emanating was that
from the very slow
process of
oxidation.



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