Burn Season
Joseph Bathanti

                        "God talks in the tress."
                        --  Thomas Merton
                         -- The Sign of Jonas

All day chainsaws
ring us and rave their litany
of cut and cut.
There can be no tomorrow.
It is five o'clock and already
the icy moon tethers above
the church of Mount Zion.
We see it from our bedroom.
Its white, spike steeple
points toward heaven.
Its clapboard walls are like snow,
much with us - a winter Purgatory.
Smoke fills the house with musk.
Ants spill from the wood
at the first trickle of flame.
Beneath the buckling bark,
grubs and glowworms disintegrate.
Forget that dirt is the last refuge.
In the split pit of wood so sharp
it sparked at the maul,
I have found chain,
barbed wire,
a hatchet head;
even a swatch of calico,
a coffin nail and small bone.
We live in the trees, without knowing;
we live in the fire.

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