Wind thrashes the trees. At the near
edge of the clearing the camp dogs
cower, won’t approach. Though the guide
changed his shirt his boots reek of blood.
Stooping beneath the trees, rising,
circling with a close, level stride,
women collect the deadfall—all
of it—armfulls bristling, brittle.
Two walking together bring in
three limbs, stout, shattered, for the axe.
In the hour when the wind is down
at last, before the coming dark,
they construct the tinder pile, boughs
broken to size, latticed. Each tier
settled across its broader base,
skeletal, unlike a house. Now
they lay the fresh-cut logs over
the kindling. Night is falling when
their work, woven of wood and air,
is touched with a fluttering torch.