Okanagan Mountain Firestorm, 2003
When grief sweeps deep into gullies,
once green meadows melt, Ponderosa
sticks, flame sharpened, poke the sky;
I flee to the watery horizon,
throat full of words I will not purge,
eyelids on fire with memories.
When white-tails race down Wild
Horse, fast heat and smoke snuffs nests
of mole, cottontail dreams, skinks
falter, fade; I shake my fist
while Firestorm forces molten crowns
on every virgin head.
When they come heavy with human
power, sweat and fear and balls,
they build a line, attack despair; no sleep
until we lay in smoldering highlands,
balm and gentleness for our wounds,
dreams of snow for our dark nakedness.
When forgiveness, fireweed pink,
impossible, blooms in April soil, I sink
to my knees, call Lynx, Black Bear,
and Coyote, home. I raise my hands
for Western Grebe, and Spotted Bat,
whisper songs of chartreuse moss
to the face of every ashen stone, and promise;
always, everywhere, we will begin again.