I am a pallet

I am a pallet;
a collection of oaken slats, each
born in beauty and silence
raised and nurtured by
cool streams and
rooted in the dark earth,
grown into a home for the
skitterers and flyers
whose place was my branches,
making the ground beneath
a shady spot for the moss
and the brush.
A provider of peace and comfort.

Offering the resistance of only
density and gravity against
the saw and axe, I am
cut down and sliced
for the strength of my flesh,
hastily assembled as an
empty box enslaved
by twisted iron nails;
my once living burl now
drying into rough,
brittle bones, a
square skeleton.

Once divinely ordained
as a caretaker and provider
of peace and comfort,
I am relegated to a vehicle
for plastic junk. Stacked
and transported, sitting in
hot trucks, waiting to be
unloaded, thrown on a pile
and set in the hot sun,
cold rain, or freezing snow
until more plastic junk
might make me useful again.
I have found my place in
dark, dusty, forgotten corners,
set down in piles of muck
and rat shit, skidded on
rough concrete, broken by
tired workers, themselves
overburdened into carelessness
by their own slavery.

I am
used up and broken,
filthy and stained,
gnarled, cracked, and
cheaply repaired until,
an eyesore,
my iron jailers now rusty and
exposed, I am
destined for the fire.

Waiting outside, I am
noticed by one who can
see beneath the scars and dirt
who sees value in what I once was
and who knows I have my story.
Picked up and taken home,
brushed off and pried apart,
my parched slats creak and
groan against the pry bar,
some giving way as the cruel
nails struggle to keep their grip
in me.

He cuts and sands these
boards, cleaning off the years of
broken splinters and
the filth which has been
ground into these grains,
revealing patterns of color and
beauty which had once lived
inside of me.

I am remade into something
new, something beautiful and useful:
a chair, a table, a sign proclaiming
something precious and fun.
A birdhouse or feeder, or
a bed for a beloved friend.
I am, once a purveyor of junk,
then junk itself,
now, a thing to be cherished,
a provider of peace and comfort.

I am a pallet:
Reclaimed. Repurposed. Restored. Reborn.

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