When They Used to Burn Witches

January 3, 2011

Look, off to the lighthouse, east. See it?
First bird. Trace its fire, a spider web
can be a lattice into space, a talisman…
and when it burns, the smoke can be a crazy cloud—
too black and drifting in with all its might,
a swan still extant in last night’s moonlight—
or think when they used to burn witches,
how the air ignited, how the fire reached out
from bird to bird, a thespian of smoke
on the horizon’s shimmering stage—
a spider web performing, 
the embers more charcoal than fire…

That time the dogs cornered the skunk
behind the barn, the stink they brought
back home, how it enters the skin…
It’s like that. Off east, next to the lighthouse
where I first saw that old gull,
how it looked like a swan on fire—
how the smoke looked like a thread
pulled through every hole in space,
how it became one of winter’s worse fires,
like that.


2 Responses to “When They Used to Burn Witches”

  1. extrasimile Says:


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