20 Days of Burning

Ellen Cordery - Poetry: 20 Days of Burning

A throw away spark lit that forest fire.
A careless cigarette tossed from a car window and
an entire state of being burned.

When I inhaled the first smoke grays,
I closed the door against the crackling sound of trees,
thinking my house would be saved by my prayers.

(Firecracker leaves, torch singer trees,
seduction crooning on a haze fire spark-breeze,
sweat dripping and thirst rising.)

Of course I heard the early warnings –
horses screaming in the night as the barns burned around them.
To save water, I did nothing but cry.

The neighborhood watch came door to door.
Get out! they cried, and I heard them. And yet I stayed behind
to whirl a jig through the center of the sun.

In my dreams that night, I burned
my eyes from staring into the total eclipse of my reason.
That next morning, my vision was whole again

so I danced into the flames
that flowed down the mountain.

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