Burn Pile.

on Saturday I supervised a change of state
—a pile of brush two-years high
had reached the point it couldn’t wait:

in our field beside the tracks
where berries would be planted soon
my job’s to make sure nothing
changes state without intention
which might need
a dousing intervention
(with sirens) and an all-out
pump-truck monsoon

so I stand with shovel at attention
near a snake of garden hose in grass,
and watch for flares of flaming gases
that might leap to nearby desiccated leaves
or other inappropriate locations
and slip the noose of well-soaked earth
I’d laid in preparation

low pressure voids not desperately calling
to be satisfied, the breeze is dangerously slight

under blue where gray clouds collide
the sun can’t reach with all its might

still, I wear a straw corona,
brimmed to outwit melanoma

a chipmunk nearby overseeing
first shoots forward then goes fleeing

she does this half a dozen times,
like me a vacilating state of being

Jim Culleny


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