He closes his
weathered grey eyes
and imagines
the engines roar
the saw turns,
and sawdust flies—
tiny slivers in the air,
forming wooden clouds
in the sky.

He remembers how
the logs roll
into cruel teeth
and lumber slides—
into soldier-straight lines,
building planed regiments
in the dust.

Memories stream
into Grandpa's mind.
Heart and hands,
older and gnarled,
itch to pull
the levers
of the mill
and time again.


Author's note:

My paternal grandfather owned a small saw mill in New Hampshire. He was the sawyer (pronounced soy-yer in New England.) Before computerized mills, the sawyer operated the huge circular saw and decided what size boards and how many he wanted from each log—say four 2 x 4's or one 4 x 4 and eight 2 x 4's. He gauged the exact number of cuts and turns necessary to produce the pieces of lumber he envisioned and proceeded to mill them from each log to fill a customer's order.


Original Publisher: Progenitor Art & Literary magazine

Reprinted with permission in The Glass Sponge
Publisher: Finishing Line Press

Publish Dates

May 2013

Jules Jacob

Jules Jacob PoetJules Jacob is the author of Kingdom of Glass & Seed (forthcoming Lily Poetry Review Books, October 8, 2023), The Glass Sponge, a semi-finalist in The New Women's Voices Series (Finishing Line Press), and co-author with Sonja Johanson of Rappaccini's Garden (White Stag Press, forthcoming December 2023). Her poems are featured in Lily Poetry Review, Plume Poetry, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Rust + Moth, and elsewhere. Jules is the recipient of a fellowship from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts at Le Moulin à Nef, Auvillar, France.

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