Poetry Winner – Nathan Adams


Nathan Adams | BA English and Creative Writing, Stage 2


I took a woodcutter for my lover.


I never knew his name, only that I hated him

more than I had hated anything else.

It had been some years since we had met;

he laid his rough palms on my flesh and declared me

“Handsome, but far from ready yet”.

I quivered.

He moved on and steely death took us all in from over his shoulder.

It whirred. We were fewer.

He left merry, with the start of a fire

and we were left with tears.

It went on.

Every week or so, he would come to the clearing

and another one of us would fall to whatever he had planned.

Consumed by fire, I suppose.

Propping up some cabin wall.

Kicked by brats and pissed on by dogs until rotted and then burned.

My friends died to make handles for his axes,

my children came home in splinters and heaps.


One night, there were few of us left.

I crept out of myself, laid a cloak of leaves over my new skin

and stole down in darkness to his window.

I remember him, clear as day.

Woodcutter at his fire, at his – wooden – table

all alone of an evening, with nothing but memories rubbed raw.

I lifted the latch.

He turned. I smiled.

That was the first time.

He never asked questions, never cared.

There I was, handsome, and bare and so, so ready.