From the Ashes
We think it fitting to contemplate fire
in the charred Ponderosa grove.
The black bark reminds me
what I’ve already learned
and that I arrived this summer
thinking burned forests
were always a sad thing.
I would imagine those stretches of Galician highway
watching through the window of a rented car
staring at the pillars of smoke on the horizon
thinking of the dead wild ponies on the news.
But in New Mexican forests
fire is complicated and
like all things
there’s more to the story than at first you see.
The Ponderosas tell history of change and growth and death
so after we sing ourselves our lullaby
so now the lightnin’s far away
and let the others drift away to
their cabins and tents and hammocks.
And then i’m alone
more than I’ve been this summer
Though my light shines on the paper as I write
when I look up
the dark is deep and infinite
and I’m alone.
My fear in the dark is not sharp.
It circles me slowly like shy coyotes pressing inwards
a numb oppression until all I need
So I look towards it
beyond the highest needles
and find Scorpio—
then connect the stars in ways that make sense to me
until I am not confined
but infinitely small in an infinite vastness.
My smallness in the stars reminds me
of my insignificance in this place
which keeps me safe
as I huddle like all the other diurnal animals
close to my tree in the night.
Like all the other animals
I slip in and out of shallow sleep.
then an hour,
as the drowsiness drowns the cold
and the fear.
after those long liminal hours
the sun sends its greeting over the hill
in pinks and yellows
and it’s enough
so I gather my self and walk
into the morning.