A new poem by Zachariah Wells


               Such a slim barrow into which to stuff

                         a life; such a narrow beam to cross

               and brace the walls. Pollarded and shallow-

                         rooted, it resists the winds, persists

               despite its pruning. Stiff and stolid

                         in its ramrod stance, it stands, but shifts

               and strays when no one’s watching. It sees

                         the road ahead, but is always looking

               back. It asserts and it equivocates.

                         It makes mistakes. It flirts with grief and grace.

                It wears a mask to hide its missing face.