Ten-thousand acres last week, double today. The Nantahala Forest
combusts like hay: drought plus rough terrain. Bless firefighters
who've come Oregon-far to help the Blue Ridge. Bless everyone
praying for rain, damning
the arsonist. These mountains should flame
with autumn; instead, falling leaves become torches,
the sun can't burn off. Eyes itch, I taste acrid hickory,
won't let the dogs play outside. Farmers fear for cattle—
the thick smolder, chemicals sprayed to stop it. What about lungs
of ducks here for winter refuge on Lake Chatuge?
And osprey, fox, bear, deer...
her sister's sculpture, mother's portrait, binders of genealogy notes.
I could grab documents but not
Reverend Cobb's table cut from a hundred-year oak
nor the maple desk made by a local man.
The mattress with its imprint of the body I loved.
the smell of campfire, the silver-ringed sun, striated
purple sunsets. I'm in a Turner painting, everything blurred,
obscured under goose down.
Last night the moon glowed red.
Copyright © 2018 Karen Paul Holmes All rights reserved.
From ( ). Reprinted with permission.
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