Charles Weld

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.