Today's poem is by Scot Siegel

After a Century of Fire-Suppression Policy
        after the Winter Ridge Fire; Fremont National Forest, Oregon, 2002

Despite the flames that crowned the pines and charred
the scarps

Despite the breaks that scarred the farms and left the blaze
to blanch the snags that riddle the slopes like bones

Despite the slides and floods that feed silt-laced creeks
in springtime

Despite the winds that wrack and twine the ridges; gusts
that wick and whip and wring scant rains, to rise and drift

and fall, and rise again like ghosts ...

Despite the feral lightning strikes that find no fuel to flare,
Petroglyphs sing up there.

They lisp from crooks and cracks in cliffs
above hidden salt-lick ponds, the sweetest Paiute songs:

Hymns of cattail shoots and snakes and roots, and hares,
and seeds and lizards snared and skinned and cured,

and bighorn rams for coats and chaps and hats
and hooks,

and meat to last, and meat to last,
the whole winter through.

Copyright © 2016 Scot Siegel All rights reserved
from The Constellation of Extinct Stars
Salmon Poetry Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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