By R. J. Smith
I sit at the hearth, my hands still
rough from the handle.
My back sings with a dull ache
after bringing the axe down too many times.
I feel my muscles soften into the cushion
as the first raindrops kiss the windows,
foreplay to the storm.
Belly full, I exhale, content.
The fire, my guard dog,
spits at the rain in the chimney,
keeping me dry.
Even with the empty chair opposite,
there is nothing quite like the sound of rain.