Timothy Thomas McNeely
Leaves flick water right in his face –
his older brother at the bathroom sink.
Sap on his hands where gloves must have slipped;
stuck in his mind, exhausted from outside.
In summer, heat compounds the grease
bakes dirt like a decal he’ll have to scrape –
throw himself in the sea, let salt scour skin away.
Any day, in a gusting breeze, a tree might
barberchair, spin off, surprise and kill.
No wonder he never wanted to camp
to herd us down some branching service road
slap tarp to ground and build a fire with his three bored boys,
pitch tent under canopies they paid him to cut.
Some days, though, between frustrations,
why wouldn’t he stay in the woods, skip family
savor sharp saws, spitting chips, smell of firs
birds filling the silence between logs felled?
Timothy Thomas McNeely was raised in the Pacific Northwest and studied poetry at the University of St Andrews and the Hugo House in Seattle. Now a husband and father of four, he works in federal education program management and continues to write to capture the landscape.