after I set the grass
on fire as a child. A rude interruption to a spaghetti casserole
as the neighbor stopped by to tell us our yard was



My student fights fires in the summer. Turns in his papers
early to leave to fight  the new burns.


When you live in a desert your fingers and hands turn
to dry sticks, mottled with the rage of the air
stealing humidity        from your skin.
You guard    your matches   from use    and children
or people who don’t know how to start a safe fire.


In Arizona the canyons burn

out     the flames lick up and up and up    to reach
the turquoise sky. Funneling up red rock tunnels,     train of fire
wake of ash.   Rock bruised   by blaze trail cartography―
a bold map of soot.


Erin Renee Wahl's work has appeared in Cirque, Spiral Orb, Mojave River Review, and others. She has published two microchapbooks of poetry: Secure the Night (Bitterzoet Press 2017) and Cloud Physics (Ghost City Press 2018). Her work can be found via a well-crafted Google search.