Week or so after Hurricane Hazel,

Me, just out of the Navy, no job.

Mac, one year out of Walter Reed.


My dad (looking out for us) Bunch

Of trees down at Curtis Arboretum,

Township needs help cleaning up.


Couple of axes. hatchet, sharpening

stone, file and coffee thermos.

A two-man bucking saw, Mac and me


We waded into tangled branch mess

Hatchet, axes swing, bite, chips fly

Branches slap — sweat stings eyes


Sun, leaves, sawdust everywhere.

Axe blades sticky, saw teeth clogged,

Sap-stiff gloves, blistered hands


Buck-sawing oak, maple, walnut

Sycamore — some we didn’t know.

Logs piled by road for dump truck


We cashed checks, drank beer.

Papers said the storm killed

Thousands, Haiti to Toronto.


Mac died, Halloween Day 2008.

Hit by northbound car on Rte. 611

Happened fast like Hurricane Hazel.


Mac had his troubles; he was lucky

Got out of this life quick-like

Now, nobody’s on saw’s other end.


Fifty-four years done and gone.



George Fleck is a graduate of Temple University, Philadelphia Pa., and a Korean War Veteran. He has been writing poetry for fourteen years. His work has appeared in Commomweath: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania, Penn State Press 2005, Mad Poets Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and online in “Poets Against The War.”

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