Chopping Down Stones

The axe is sharp.
No chainsaw for this task.
Just swing,
breathe,
swing,
breathe.

These stones are old. Wouldn’t you think
that makes them more fragile?

My father used to take the handsaw to the woods in winter
and down firewood to sell.
Back,
forth,
breathe.

My father is fragile.

I will gather these chopped stones
in to a pyre
of hard memories
and strike
a match of belonging.


In her professional life, Ruth Zwald has served as chaplain, pastor, and social worker. When an astrologer told Ruth she had no “earth” in her birth sign, Ruth set about to find ways to ground. She has huge gardens, sharing life with her partner who is a part-time shepherd, on their farm in Michigan. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Ruth began digging up words like she digs potatoes–unearthing thoughts and loving reconnecting to this creative use of language. She is new to the pursuit of publishing, and her poetry has been accepted in the upcoming “Voices de la Luna” and “Bloodletters.”

Protest illustration by C.B. Auder.

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