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Category archive for: Kevin Goodan

from Let That Fire Catch Me Now

Sun purpled at its apex.

A strange wind twisting trees

Before they ignite, radiant heat

Killing the buckbrush, white berries

Bursting into char. This is now,

The journey in which nothing

Is auguried, and what is called fate

Resides in the aleatorics of flame.

Here is the language of incineration.

How far can a body run

When it’s encased in fire?

How do we convey the transference

Into ash? To trap, to keep what is

Known to us? What do we do

When all the thousand hour fuels

Have ignited? When crews

Were finally able to recover

The bodies, they found the fingers

In each gloved hand were broken.

 

We station ourselves along the slope.

We’ve calculated windshift,

The fire’s own need for air.

When the radios click we uncap

Our flare and strike them,

Breathing in sulfuric puffs

As the neon flames spurt

To the thick brush we light

Making a fire that marries fire

And halts it. We daub our flares

Here and there, scribe intentions

On the dark where every move

Becomes a function of light,

A cursive that whispers our names

To the overstory as we double-click

Our mics, strapped to our chests

Like crucifixes that guide us

Through the night-burn, back

Into our dreams once more.

 

What we render is what we become

No matter how we read the air

For ghost-tongues, the bitter

Blinding, binding words

Fueling this blue world

And we plead the horizon

Every division of light

Every black snag that is

The memory of what has come

And we look for what is leaning

What’s fallen within the forests

Of ourselves, the far deepening

Glimpse of what some say is

The fingerprint of God

Now the fires have gone.

 

We doff gloves to run our flesh through ash

Seeking the smallest spark to snuff

Before we sift the next quadrant of char

We grope the base of each tree,

Every dead-fall, sloughing black bark

To the dirt, and in the blaring monotony

We whisper stories of ourselves

To pass the time though we are the ones

Passing through it, embers that have lasted

Only this long

from Poetry Northwest 12.1 Summer & Fall 2017More by Kevin Goodan from the library

Copyright © Kevin Goodan
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.