How to chop wood—the tin man’s explanation

This story is paired with Chapter 6 of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. For best experience, download the LithoReader for your iPhone or iPad and get NonBinary Review for free. 

My dear, chopping wood
is an intimate affair involving
the cutter, the wood and
his tools.
For example, the grain of a thing
will tell you which way it yields
and which way it stands fast,
the density telling you
how much force
is needed
in order
to split it.
For chopping is not clearing brush
and neither is it sawing, my dear.
Chopping is a means of
breaking down
to constituent parts,
a way of burning away
a thing
to its essence,
its heat heating your body, your food
exactly what an individual needs
to survive.
So yes dear
when I called you nothing
but dead wood
believe me
I was only
my ax.

NBR3-LaVigneSteve LaVigne runs a local poetry group in Champaign, Illinois. His work includes poems in riverSedge Journal and The New Verse News