How these dark flames lick at the branches of thorn
on the trembling hot eve of summer,
and whittle them to broken gray ash
with sparks showering orange pinpoints in the gloom,
each tree cowered helpless before the conflagration.
This horizon was a jagged collection of black spikes
halo'd with pulsing columns of fire,
striking lakes to pools of hell and murk,
instantly fossilizing the quicksilver of life beneath.
There is only open country
and worried stars beyond this fevered blaze,
and the frame houses where rural faces float worried
at yellow-washed kitchen windows,
the pair of us looming in the sour air
at the threshold of a church parking lot
as the mountain crumbles and burns,
a swath of furious red,
as if an airliner made an unscheduled landing
in the depths of these woods,
and burst into pieces upon arrival.