Sustenance by Sarah Russell


“Sustenance” by Sarah Russell


When glacial bogs blush with berries
it’ll be a hard winter, folks say.

He is cutting down a dead pine near the cabin,
beetle-killed by drought last summer.
His chainsaw knows the hearth’s width
without measuring.

I went to the orchard on Route 5
and bought peaches for canning.
The kitchen smells of sweetness,
furry skins sloughed off with blanching,
floor juice-sticky.

He comes in for lunch,
fills the room with flannel and sawdust.
“A lot of work,” he says.
“Yes,” I answer.
We eat warmed over stew.
He cleans his plate with bread crust and pushes back his chair.
“Back at it,” he mutters and opens the door.

A cold wind makes gooseflesh on my arms
as I set the pint jars of preserves
in steaming water to make them sterile.



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Sarah Russell Artist Statement:

Sarah Russell is in metaphor rehab after spending many years teaching, writing and editing
academic prose. Since retirement, she writes what she wants to, edits only for friends, and
almost never sets an alarm clock. Heaven! Her short stories, essays and poems have
appeared in anthologies and in print and online venues including Kentucky Review, Red River
Review, and Misfit Magazine among many others. See for more
of her work.

Author: A Room of Her Own

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