Conversation 66

Blazing Space

Stephen Collis

Where there’s fire
there’s water too
hillsides burnt in summer
slump in inundated winter
no trees to keep
no soil to hold
bristlecone mountain hemlock
amabilis spruce and ash
and ash and ash and water roar
swept into ravine
into vortex into fear
fished from a sky of fire
rushed torrent to acidic sea


Words made
for singing and enchanting
just silent here
this inert world
is not ours
is its own fire built
and banked
feels sorrows
exalted joys
though not by those names
strawberry tree and salal
have their own revolutions
their own red
which turns us back
and folds us in again
falling mountains
swollen rivers
a petroleuse loose
in the heart of every crying bird


Sifting through
the creatureliness of it all
cold fire struck
in winter sky

dinosaur us
flat on the earth
looking ever upward
into our mingled despairs