T.L. Stokes


The exclamations
of thousand trees burning
into a blue eye
over us
wafts through the back door
of the house,
ghost-arms down the hallway,
comes under the chair.

I can't see it.
The dog coughs
standing in the straw grass.
Overhead warning flags
spread pinkish to purple-black fans.

Wildfires raise praying arms,
rake a soft crosshatch.
A river of ashes on breaths.
I taste the forest dying

and the small town is afraid.
Neighbors with orange tongues
shining in their worried eyes
watch the hill
slowly eaten between red lips.

The fire is a horse.
Many fires, many horses;
momentum on thunder
runs hungry.

You understand the inevitable,
we won't be able to weep
when the sun bares itself,
comes closer.

And the fires,
the smallest thing will set them off,
everything dry as it is.
Can I say it now?
It's too late.

Hawks and swallows
offer plumed dreams.
The field, jeweled with embers,
holds the skeleton
of your house--

a handful of heron legs
clacking farewell--

to the last tree,
no one will be here to miss.

Location: Snoqualmie, Washington
Occupation: Writer
Email: pongee7@yahoo.com
Publications: Ancient Wind Press, Pierian Springs, The 2River View, Comrades Press, Ludlow Press, The Gin Bender Review, etc.

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