Join us Wednesday, November 6 as Fleda Brown closes out our Fall Writing Series.
The woods are on fire.
The woods are seething and blistering.
Matisse, stuck in his wheelchair, is scissoring shapes,
directing his assistant to pin them to a board.
Beethoven is solving musical problems inside the soundless
chamber of his head. Elizabeth Bishop is sitting in the waiting room
studying naked women with her poised intellect. She cries out.
Oh no. It’s not her, but from the other room.
The wildfire of her heart is about to cross the gap cut by the firemen.
A small backfire has been set near the bigger one to use up
the oxygen that fuels it. You have to know where
the bigger one is headed. You do not know where
the bigger one is headed, so it is always the backfires.
Even the water in the hoses can catch fire.
The fire is not really in the water, but the water gets drunk up.
If you were on fire I would roll you in a blanket as I have been told.
There is a cardinal out there against the snow! Such a cliché,
but a dramatic example of the tiny backfire that keeps us
from burning alive.
From The Woods Are On Fire: New and Selected Poems Copyright © 2017 by Fleda Brown.