Herkie’s hole had nothing to do with me I swear I wasn’t there when he took the chainsaw to the carpet and I was not there when Hazel returned with a Florida tan to see her “wall to wall” massacred. I can imagine though. A berber’s raw wound opened to the woodstove in the basement because a genius was exploiting the nature of thermodynamics. Because heat rises, right? Herkie’s chainsaw moment. Geological layers of wool, under-padding, staples, woodfloor, floorboards and two joists. An opening in the middle of the living room above the woodstove, causing the floor to cave slightly down and into the fire. Hazel came home to hear the creak under foot of weak branches from a cliff leaning in towards the hot mouth of this monster below. It smelled. As if hell had opened up inside her. 

The woodstove would save them on gas heating explained Herkie, her husband, the war veteran named after Hercules because he was so strong. Now, all twisted inside by the shrapnel stuck in his mind so that he drank all the time. Cold and soaked with alcohol, he fed the stove that roared through Hazel’s winter. 


Concetta principe writes poetry, fiction, non-fiction and scholarly work on trauma literature and messianic business in culture and philosophy. Her most recent prose poem collection, This Real (2017), which came out with Pedlar Press, was long-listed for the League of Canadian Poet’s Raymond Souster Award. She has four other books of poetry, including Interference, which won the Bressani Award for poetry in 2000, and a novella, published with Guernica Editions. She has a monograph on the messiah and trauma published by Palgrave Macmillan, and she has had her articles published in peer review journals. She is currently Assistant Professor at Trent University in Durham, where she teaches English literature and creative writing.