Monday, June 17, 2013

Emily Strauss- A Poem

Burning up the World, at least part of it

Trying to make a fire, I started with wood shavings
And brown pine needles, but they were still damp
From the rains. Then I tried tiny oak twigs and
Maple leaves but all I got was a pile of smoking
Rubble. Finally I got angry and tore the middle
Pages out of the old atlas starting with North
Dakota, and crumpled the northern plains
And set them on fire.

They too took a moment to catch as if grass
Can’t burn when it’s covered with ice.
I added some of the Ozarks for good measure
And soon I had a blaze of Midwestern heat
With flames licking the last of the prairie
Curling up to the Great Divide. I roasted

My toes in the warmth of the orange dance
And fed half-burnt pages from the neighboring
States until the whole country was lit and a cat
Stood in the circle to feel the heat of it.

Soon the sky cleared until only a white ring
Shone around the moon and I finally tossed
Even the poker into the fire and watched it
Leap into the conflagration as two moths

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