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At the End, Heartwood, Swamp Love, & Oversaturated

Poetry, Robin Chadwell

At the End

I am thinking about the ethics

of pruning yellow leaves.

Is the green mother plant better off letting them go.

Hear how my voice doesn’t rise at the end.

And what of the dying?

Do they want a quick death?

I thought I was saving them the trouble

and maybe I was

but surely,

yellow is a color, too. At the end

you said,

“don’t let me die in a hospital.”



If you split me open for firewood

my core might look like tree rings

or sloping cornfields

after the combine

has barreled through.

But if you put me in the woodstove

I'll burn lavender-blue

like driftwood—

incense of sea salt and cancer.

Better then, to make chairs of me,

a table for the family

to gather ’round.


Swamp Love

Water makes me light

enough to carry—

let’s build a house in the neighbor’s pond.

Come new year

we’ll send postcards—the love of cattail seeds

floating to nowhere in particular.

We’ll raise half-human swamp babies

who will leave us for gravity’s pull

and resent us for giving them gills.

When the children are gone

and the house is paid off

and all that’s left are hazy sunrises

and muted bird songs

we will remember we’re in love,

and green curtains of algae will draw open.



I wish I couldn’t find out



what my childhood bully is

up to

these days I am wary of window shopping and I wear only linen I only wear things that feel

light as air. I’m heavy enough walking up and down sitting up and down standing up and

standing down—

some days all I do

is carry myself.


Robin Chadwell is a farmer and poet living in the Berkshire hills of Massachusetts. Robin's poetry has been published by the Hudson Valley Writers Guild, The Scapegoat Review, and is forthcoming in the Hyacinth Review. See more on Instagram: @robinchadwell


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