Kim Stafford: “Ghost Forest”

Ghost Forest

Crisis of the flame—
spit and crackle and crash—
with a roar the fire flume
climbs the ravine against
laws of gravity and growth
(the sun kindled green from far) for
fire brought here by lightning strike
combustion, fury final for the old
trees, young grass blond by drought’s
climate change intensity not by decades
but by seconds made manifest, one breath
transformation from green tower to ghost-
bone trunk dressed in smoke, taking one step
to swing from the vertical to the crisscross forest
labyrinth, wood coal spectres scattered as the truck
explodes, the men run frantic with exiled
deer and bear, grouse and mouse in a blur
toward what used to be: green tree
and clear rivulet, leaf, butterfly, rain.

—Kim Stafford

“Ghost Forest,” copyright © 2015 Kim Stafford. Used by permission of the author.

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