Classification of Axes

Who thinks of axes as weapons
in this day of thirty-aught-six
and poisons the renaissance princes only
dreamed about?

More like some ancient blade
embedded in a stump
by the old car,

or cinched to the side of a fire truck,
its cutting edge whimsical red.

But not even
those axes.

Rather the axes
of the DSM-IV multi-axial classification
of mental illness.

How my Axis I of 300.4
                            309.3
                            315.9
lines up like a split cord of oak
against my Axis II of 799.9.

And the chips of Axis III,
(sleep disturbance, TBI)
litter the floor of Axis IV,
my home, my work, my wife.

Let’s not even raise the number
of Axis V.

So much revolves around it.

The scent of hewn timber.

Halo of gnats
orbiting the woodcutter’s face.




About the Author:
Paul David Adkins grew up in South Florida and lives in New York. He has a Master's Degree from Washington University.