I climbed to the ridge to see fire
— if I could–
at the root of the smoke plume
which poured from between the mountain’s legs
and wrapped the horizon from south to east
in a tall, thick ribbon of cloud,
fed by a combine blade of blaze,
low and hungry, wide and steady,
blackening the land.
At first the distant curtain of smoke
showed little contour or movement,
as I sat among the nearer flames of blooming cactus
—yellow opuntia, cholla all in fuchsia–
Even this smoke-filtered light turned them into jewels.
Darker plumes now spiraled
against the greater wall of ashy air,
prompting me to announce
–to no one but my already-illumined neighbors—
that the fire had found structures.
The texture of the rising plume began to buckle
as it gobbled this richer fuel,
chugging upward into fattening, soft-serve billows and curves.
This darkness, though, was it blacker smoke?
Or just shadows sculpted by a descending sun,
who cast its light dispassionately,
feeding all shape and form,
feeding the wonderings and sunburn of a poet
sat on tiny planet
turning, turning, ever turning
from blue, to green, to brown….
m.l., eldo, nm
June 16, 2016