I watched the sunrise, through a hazy veil of soot
particles of the forest I am supposed to be inhabiting…
but I am cancelled, the forest is closed.
Where we watch for the moose.
Where I cannot go due to threat of
And here in the Finger Lakes
my covid-shredded lungs are
ingesting the panting of the Northwoods.
Takes me back to Mpumalanga.
They burn the grass there, regularly –
You live with the vague scent of fire
that mingles with invasive Eucalyptus plantations.
Takes me back to when Notre Dame was burning,
a symbol of western faith and failure
when we stripped the French forests to build timber framed
edifices to ecological amnesia.
Takes me back to a Minnesota childhood
leaf piles for leaping
and then burning
The sun rises before me, piercing the smoked air
creating a dystopian orange glow
that bathes the naked ash tree tops
looming forlornly, dead, over the meadow’s green, wet edges;
the starlings shriek their demonic mockery
expanding the bore holes of the bees
to spawn their own kind.
I hear their offspring…
and imagine their mouths wide open.