Firefighters Walk into Mountain Sports
Straight from flames, faces soot-slapped
and yellow jackets swishing,
they track cinders of century-wide pines
wrenched from root-sockets
and sucked skyward like bungled fireworks.
Blazes in their ears, they shout across aisles
and racks, thumbs hooked over belts
with curious assurance: whether they hold
Pulaski and shovel, or Polartec and Nike, the end
will come nameless, wearing the same face.
One models a hat, and they hoot.
If they wanted, they could howl
at such prices or the well-tanned skier
in search of a deal and a fit,
clomping seven times across the store
and back in orange Atomics.
Slim and pig-tailed, the girl
who rips their receipts from the register
is the last line they walk
before flinging again comets of earth
at something like the sun unhinged.
From their radio, a staticky voice,
the green world going black.
From Through the Second Skin (Orchises, 2013). Used by permission of the author, Derek Sheffield.