Shelter in Place Poem, Day 7, and fire poem study

Note: this piece is part of my long shelter in place poem as well as a “study” of fire for a piece I will write for an upcoming exhibition of the work of the artist Anna Kaye: check out her work here.

 

Perhaps it is time to burn

everything.

*

Two thousand miles away

my mother is burning the forest,

particularly its scraps and detritus.

*

Smoke follows beauty.

*

It’s wildfire season.

*

The burning of trash and debris

in one’s yard in a pit

seems particularly Southern,

or at least Eastern. Here in the West

such an act would cause disaster.

Back home it was merely a minor

social event, something to stand around

and stare at.

*

IMG_3557

*

When four years ago

I got rid of all my old journals,

all the way back to ones I had in college,

I wanted to burn them

but I had nowhere to do it,

no fireplace, no wide expanse,

so I threw them in the dumpster.

*

Does beauty follow smoke?

*

IMG_3558

*

Light a candle and imagine

you are burning what

you no longer need. Offer it up

to the lone flame. There is

plenty of time.

*

IMG_3556

*

My grandfather, the smoker.

My grandmother, flinging suitcases into the bonfire.

*

Flames, nature’s masterpiece,

the original work of art.

You cannot look away

from a fire for long.

*

Whatever it is you’re burning,

name it.

*

Fire on the mountain, lake of fire.

Strands of smoke

like snakes being charmed.

*

Wet your fingertip with spit,

dip it into ash,

touch your forehead.

*

Brace yourself. It’s fire season.

 

 

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