Nov 142007

Fear of Fire

in flannel skirts and bare feet
I sit among the rare mosses
of a dry land
sweet beds of solace
in a place ghosted by flame
every pine needle a match
every cloud a pillar of smoke

even in winter
I watch for lightning
the one strike, the one tree
that will become a torch

in my dreams, everything smells like smoke
and singed skin

I bury my body in the in the river
and let the cold throb
wash the fire out of me
I let myself remember the liquid song
of my blood

I forget about fire
just long enough
to breathe


Fire Season

the fingers of the pines are turning brown
each summer a little crisper, the fires a little bigger
in the village, people fan themselves
and look warily at the sky
for lightning or smoke
back then, they say,
we knew how winter was going to be
the forests didn’t burn so hot
the earth told us her name
and the aquecias ran full

up in the Pecos
the pines are naked, bitten
dead or dying
barren as a battlefield
every mountain a memorial
though we give no names to our dead
only mutters of pine beetle and damn drought
and fire season
fire season, that every year
stretches longer

down here, we’re still waiting,
shifting from foot to foot
as we have another monsoon
big enough to get us through
just big enough for the grasses to grow tall
and then dry to kindling in the autumn winds

in the north
fire is what keeps you warm
cures frostbite and cooks food
here it is the telltale ribbon
at the edge of the woods
that sings a death song
for wildflowers and rivers

these fires are hot as hell
no manzanita and fireweed
will spring from the charred ground
no resurrection after three days of sleep
only charcoal, ashes and cracked rock
and the absent rains that refuse to wash them clean

  2 Responses to “Two Poems Born of Fire”

  1. god kiva, that is just absolutely beautiful, poignant, and speaks to me all too tenderly of home.
    Thank you!

  2. Those poems are beautiful and terrifying at the same time. Thank you for sharing.

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