Mark Goodwin

Lord Carpenter's Sacrifice
at Honnington le Death Manor, Sheliestar

from tree-flesh I carved huge letter As
(solid As as hollow as the A in vast)

to support the roof that kept
the voices of this house from the sky

I served the Lord of this Manor with my hands

amongst the joists were other wooden capitals
Xs Is interlocking Zs & stretched straight

arms of Ts all fixed with wooden pegs not
one iron nail was driven through tree-flesh

with saw adze spokeshave & plane I pronounced
the grain of oak as House!

through oak I spooked this home's shapes

and illumined it with oak's golden medulla rays
because my tongue had always been a coiled oak

-shaving between my jaws

the smell of sawdust & my wife's sweat
the sound of wood slid on wood &

my wife's voice & the taste of her
soft but oak-tough mouth

these remember me in now's grain

then I looked forward most to the moment
the letter As of this house would rise

to fit snug into the sky when I
could fit snug into my wife I loved

her crinkled oak-leaf-cleft I loved
her acorns aching on my tongue

the night my oak letter As woke & walked
away with my wife the night this house

went back to the woods is as driven & twisted
in to my mind as oak-roots through earth

I am a carpenter in a tree's mouth trapped