After Burnhttps://i2.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/68673_10152384737435179_1067620020_n.jpg?fit=960%2C643&ssl=1960643David WrightDavid Wrighthttps://i1.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/davidwright.jpg?fit=96%2C96&ssl=1
I missed this year the burning of the grasses, my friend masked by a red bandana,
torch in hand, surrounded by a choir of men chanting shovel and rake, a few women
playing extinguisher and hose. Most gods used lightning. Vandals and settlers count
on matches, count on campfires and neglect. Controlled burn means, mostly, luck.
Fire now, a surprise wind, not now, a March forecast for evening rain. If you believe
in the ventricled ball of roots below the prairies, you know it is impossible to eradicate
the past. A week, and grasses already insist on themselves. Scalded soil heals green.
Next blaze will be a summer of small and larger suns, then cones of purple, a bluestem
rising undulant and obscene. Cattail and a fall weed with a dozen forgotten ochres.
In August, when I return, I won’t call it a sea but will wade through the blooded deep
prairie of flame. A dozen birds will be startled in the moment. I will be still frightened
by the deepest past. I’ll leave my matches and lightning at home. I’ll wait for new rain.
David Wright’s poems have appeared in 32 Poems, Image, Ecotone, and Spoon River Poetry Review, among others. He lives in Central Illinois where her teaches creative writing and American literature at Monmouth College. His third collection of poems, Local Talent, is forthcoming from Virtual Artists Collective in 2019.