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Fire’s Feast


ISSUE:  Summer 1988

When lightning dropped its whip onto
the Squirrel Hill, the explosion
broke the air all up and down
the rainy valley. Even above
the storm the echoes shunted off
the mountainsides. And later
a gap showed in the forest line
where the white pine had been, and splinters
shone all over the dripping woods,
caught in trees and brush, great toothpicks,
strips of bark. And at the shattered
stump a ditch ran out through forest
floor where the main root had swollen,
burst, steaming through undergrowth out
into the cornfield, to the smallest
root-tips which had reached into
the cultivated ground to steal
fertilizer and were blown from
their depths, as though the whole fire of
heaven had been hungry for
the tender hair-roots and come all
that way and left a blasted trench
and flung earth to tear its morsel
out and eat to satiety
each tiny cell of rooted things.

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