The Sound of Axes

During my morning climb to the bird-watching post
On the roof, I pause on the second flight.
I hear a sound that makes my shoulders ache sympathetically.
Familiar, old sound, but not as I remember it.
It sounded heavier when Dad did it, swinging a maul through aged oak rings, the wedge disappearing into dead fibrous hearts.
A sound of fresh ripping, followed by a mighty crack as the round split in pieces on the autumn gravel.
It sounded crisper when I did it, creating kindling from abandoned two by fours for the wood-burning stove.
A series of sharp clicks as the hatchet sliced through tidy sinews that were not good enough to make a wall.
That is not what I hear as clear the third landing, sadness mounting.
This sound is green, haphazard, sloppy.
By the time I get to my post, four stories up, it’s all confirmed.
Poor man with his dull machete, hacking the general direction of wild branches and stubborn trunks.
The tree in bite-sized pieces, branches in a pile, yellow petals turning to mash under his flip-flops.
The skeletal body, rudely trimmed of cover, resists the chops, giving off splinters and slivers like a miser dealing charity. This is why you fell dead trees.
Green wood puts up a fight, recognizing perhaps that the weaver birds will move on, the plantain eaters will roost elsewhere, the coucal will have to take his nesting materials to the neighbors.
Sympathetic, annoyed, resigned, I decide to descend.
I cannot watch my pastime get torn down for scrap money,
Just as I cannot listen to the uneven rhythm of a dull blade.

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