“Endless Summer” by Kelli Russell Agodon

Endless Summer

We can forgive lightning,
a god of fire reaching a pale arm

into the trees, searching for something
dropped in a carpet of green.

It’s not so easy to forgive the careless
smoker flicking his cigarette behind him,

the woman burning love notes
near her tent. Somehow we want them

to know better, to crush a cigarette
until it falls apart, read the signs–

Banned: fireworks, campfires, propane
stoves, floating lanterns. At night,

when the woods glow orange,
the deer believe they can be saved

by wading into the river to let fire burn
past them. But everything boils

as firefighters wander forests. There is
never enough to drink, never enough talk

about leaving and this summer stretches on
like birdsong, a wildfire cry–

dry, dry, dry. We’ve already lost three.
We wonder what fall will bring, if rain

will appear, if winter snow will cover
the branches where flame once did.

—Kelli Russell Agodon

“Endless Summer,” by Kelli Russell Agodon. Used by permission of the author. Read more of Kelli Russell Agodon’s work at agodon.com