2 Poems by Gideon Young

Let’s Gather Firewood

Traigamos leña.
-Pablo Neruda, soneto de amor, LXXVII

begin small.
the light, dry, and thin fuels:

desiccated green briar, yellow field grass chaff, fallen pine needles that did not make it to earth
and caught astride branches where they fluttered and withered in winds.

first the base, inch-or-two-thick sticks in a V with the legs toward your own

then, across the V, from leg to leg, twigs to create a loft, a space underneath

on that loft, a tattered bundle of tinder (cedar bark from a dead trunk, scrubbed
against rough rock, between the palms of your hands, freeing the fibers to thinness)

next, the beginning, the thin, the briar
finally, first, pencil-lead-thick sticks
then, pencil-thick sticks

always everything dry

to the side:
more twigs
branches like snaredrumsticks
barks like playing cards
hardwoods like carrots
soprano recorders
paper towel rolls

hold the match
under the tinder
in one place;
give your flame
the best chance

A Perfect Joining of Everything

all the weight of oceans,
Himalayas, telephone wires,
bright scarlet roses, recyclables,
three friends hammering
a treehouse together,
guns, oil, bullets, and bones
bearing down on a center,
a nexus always shifting,
now that it rains or
someone new is born.

Gideon Young is a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective and the Carrboro Poets Council. His poems have appeared in Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, The North Carolina Literary Review, and The White Elephant, among others. Gideon is an author of One Window’s Light: A Collection of Haiku, published by Unicorn Press, 2017, winner of the 2017 Haiku Society of America’s Merit Award for Best Anthology. He is a Teaching Fellow for A+ Schools of North Carolina, K-12 Literacy Specialist, Stay-at-Home Dad, and former Title 1 Elementary School Teacher. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

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