Almanac Poetry: ‘Piece Rates’ – Tommy Mallet




Piece Rates


It’s well below zero

when we arrive,

streaks of dawn rising through

neighbouring trees,

mud frozen, thick grey mists meeting

white, icy coupe floor.



My fingers hurt,

broken back wont warm,

I breath with the slight morning nausea of

decades of repetition and waste.


Tree punnets latched onto two saddling belts,

fert bag, shovel,

an awkward combined weight,

I work upwards, over

a carpet of fallen, shredded wood,

as a tall dead tree

appears through the fog.


It has no angles,

no falling mosses,

just power,

even in its afterlife.

A singularity

I admire.


“Well, get to it,” I hear the super bark,

to stoners, still in the womb

of dirty utes.


An hour or two will pass before the valley

warms past zero.

Another hour before the pain fades

to moments of random happiness.



I try to engage a reptile mind.

Whenever the weight of my thoughts slip through,

I look for that tree,

as it follows us all over,

until night begins to rise.



Read more poetry from Tommy Mallet HERE.


More poetry from Almanac Poetry can be read HERE


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