Suzanne Edison: “Smoking”


Record summer of fire
close to home, yours
a trailer, at the confluence
of the Columbia River overflowing
with fish, and tinder dry Methow
Valley. Gone. Mercurial fire burnt the water
tower, school, and churches,
your tortilla comal, torched
family pictures set in Michoacán, zircon
tiara from a glowing quinceañera,
smoked your job tending
hilly orchards where apples
caramelized on the branch, left you
stranded like the bear cub
whose mother couldn’t outrun
the flames, and no eating
the charred cows branded
and fenced in pasture, who were bred
not to flee, as you did, arriving
years ago with a few pesos, holding
tears on your tongue, and a blazing
hope—you might have been
the man standing, garden hose in hand,
spraying down his roof, green lawn
of dreams, untouched.

—Suzanne Edison

Read about Suzanne and her work here. Poem used by permission of the author.

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