Diane Mulholland



The Woodsman

The blade bites from above and below
until the wedge of air is deep in the trunk,
like half of an hourglass waist, and the woodsman
pauses, sets down the axe, and stretches his back.

On the other side the second wedge
speeds towards the first, the trunk shrinks
until the causeway of wood is flooded

and the wasp-waist cracks. The tree remains
balanced on the memory of its tallness
for the length of time between the thrust of a pin
and the shattering of a balloon.

Watch him rest the axe against his boot
and slowly wipe both hands on canvas-covered thighs.
Watch as the tree finally sighs and slips

and crashes to the forest floor as precisely
along the fall-line as if he’d chalked it there.
Two screeching white-as-white cockatoos
circle into a patch of new blue sky.



Born in Australia, Diane Mulholland now lives in London where she can often be found beside the Thames. Her poems have appeared in journals including Under the Radar and The Interpreter’s House, and she is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.


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