Pine

1 November 2015

The driver stops and jumps down from his cab.
Men wander round the side of the scaffolding,
help him loosen the grey tarp that covers
the straw-coloured stack.

We balance the lengths
on our shoulders, trudge through mud and drizzle
battens bouncing with each step until
the lorry rattles off into the fog.

The others pick up trowels or carry blocks,
slosh through water on the concrete screed.
I rifle through the stacks with tape and pencil,
feel the knots where branches arched above stumps.

I tick each bundle off. In the van’s headlights
I see the stacks, wrapped in black plastic
like draped coffins, waiting to become a roof.

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