Our ghost bones hollow in the stringed light;
her fears, undead and slow in the morning
after the morning she told me she felt burnt.
From up here, every glint a penny, smoke
pouring as we’re told it does, pulled to go
anywhere but here, the old Western impulse.
Like driving through Iowa at night the sea could be
anywhere, everywhere; and trees. In the 1980s,
museums let go of thousands of birds, a spilling open
of their collections, with the advent of DNA-dating.
Now there are rules, I suppose. Made to be broken,
I tell my students. A wildfire of Atlantic salmon spread
into the Sound. A potential devastation; deforestation.
Blame the rusting tide. Blame the sun behind moon.
Nobody to shoulder when the coastline buckles under.
When every day for a week, Blue Angels rip the air outside
my window. The smoke, spilled milk on everything. Elegy
of green, deepest blue. The maps can’t be believed, the land
has chicken pox. Terrible constellation, pockmarked
and flaring. Animals wandering down, “let the wild ones
pass through.” I left a bucket of water out for. You must
be confused, fires can burn for quite some time. Caught
in their roots. Caught in my roots, I’m turned around
again. Reef netters begin to hoist the horizon, rising but not so slow.
Colin Walker is a poet from the Pacific Northwest. He is a recent graduate from the Helen Zell Writers' Program at the University of Michigan.