Friday, September 29, 2006

First fire

It was the first fire of autumn.

The smoke stung our eyes and stained our skin but
Together we fed the hungry flames.

We were hunters and gatherers,
Collecting clippings from the newly barbered hedge to offer to this
Strange capricious creature,

Hissing, spitting,
huffing with acrid breath.

The fire tightened our faces until the skin was thin and taut with heat;
But a few steps away the cool September air
Goose-pimpled our naked arms.

We spoke the small-talk hunters ever spoke
And we gathered memories
like we gathered leaves.

Overhead, between the spiralling, shifting columns of bonfire breath;
The autumn stars sang in the huge lonelinesses of space,
With only their fires
To comfort them.

(c) A Mc N

The bittersweet smoke of the first autumn fire echoes the emotions of a season where the year dies and yet - more than any other time - is pregnant with life.


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