Eileen Owen: “Burn”


A man walks his poodle
on an icy road, past
last summer’s burn, charred
evergreens scattered
like pickup sticks. Rust-colored
pine needles cling to branches
already dead.

The dog noses the specter
that was his playground,
the skins of trees peeling,
cinders on the dirty snow.

It still burns below.
Collapsed root balls shroud
embers waiting for melt,
oxygen, and wind.

The poodle’s pink tongue droops
over ignorant lips,
the man picks him up, pulls him close,
turns toward home
putting the charcoaled sketch
behind them. Below,
it still burns.

–Eileen Owen

Eileen “Sam” Owen lives in the Methow Valley; her husband is a volunteer firefighter.

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