Watershed Burns With Lightning ~ Elizabeth Dodd



Here come the vultures. One,

then two, they rip the soft

parts of the carcass, the bison’s eyes and ass.


In the livid instant

before lightning struck, the animal

must have felt each follicle

lifted like grass in light wind.

The moments we see, or do not see.


Did you wake weeping?  Yes, of course you did.

Breathe, breathe.


Death yeasts beneath the singular pelt.


The herd has moved on.

Indifferent sunlight slams

against the green, against us all.




Late-season flame breached the

firebreak, an ecstasy of oxygen.


Who will preserve this

precision of carbon, the way my boots

scuff the char?  Some days


I think I look like my mother

in another life.

You might think the same

thing, another mother, another face


already fading from recall.  Oh, is that

your foot on the trail, not mine?


Did you write these words while

I was away?  I see now, how

I must have stopped moving—


Memory lies shallow as ash on the flinted soil.