Cutting Off Ampersand To triangulate from Ampersand Mountain with a theodolite, Verplanck Colvin, wanting unobstructed lines of sight in all directions, ordered his crew to clear the summit. On Blue Mountain, they’d cut one side to the other, notching a line of thirty-odd trees not quite through, leaving them standing until another queue beside them could be dropped, and, falling, collide with the first, taking their neighbors down like dominos, and opening an avenue that gave the surveyor the view he wanted. I guess this method, tried-and-true, was used on Ampersand, trees mowed down in rows like hay. For three days after, they worked until last light, running lines, joining triangles, calculating height and distance, making wilderness look, at least on paper, finite.
Charles Weld’s poetry has been collected in two chapbooks (Country I Would Settle In, Pudding House, 2004; and Who Cooks For You? Kattywompus Press, 2012) and has been published in many small magazines including The River, Southern Poetry Review, Blue Unicorn, Canary, Better Than Starbucks, Amethyst Review, Snakeskin etc. He has worked as an administrator in a non-profit agency that provides treatment for youth experiencing mental health challenges, and lives in upstate New York.