Technically, you’re doing a poor job. You have no form.

The hatchet flails down into the uprooted stump.

The beagle howls. George Williams, Mr. Horton, Hilliary,

and the other neighbors spring up in their beds.

The dog’s mug and paws clatter the chain-link fence

like an ambitious kid assigned to the chimes in music class

sweeping the tiny stick over the metal bars

in gloriously abrupt, halted, and sped up glissandos

that out perform the glockenspiels and make the triangle feel

even more alone and pointless.


Despite the fact that everyone you saw yesterday seemed

so much happier than you, don’t you feel a bit better right now?

Your work may achieve what the Roshis speak of: 

Wabi-sabi in the stump. Perfection in imperfection—

gashes si-goggly like fallen trees in a forest

or the green of moss glowing on anything when it’s grey out,

or the hatchet tilted in the corner of your living room

and your decision to take a night off of listening to Stereolab

on opium, and going out back to shave,

whittle, chop, and cut at a piece of hickory.

The neighbors’ kitchen lights flick on,

visored faces against the windows.


by Noah Burton


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