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18 Jun 2023



New Moon


Jul 3rd

What Burns

Jun 4th

After Colorado Conflagration (acrylic)

by Diane Drapcho

                        Silver birches one by one. Aspen 

                        who know what to quake for. Saplings and 

                        pine duff. Where there is smoke, leaves 

                        dream of running. Manzanitas, 

                        pepperwood, breath of heaven. Not every house 

                        but a damn lot of houses. Where there is 

                        smoke, trees reach skyward. Charcoal, bridges, 

                        landfills. Matchsticks, branches, 

                        middle-school hearts, black cats. Where there 

                        is smoke, there may be women. Salem women or 

                        Hartford. Joan of Arc. Triangle 

                        shirtwaists. Sierra-Nevada sequoias alive 

                        during the Song Dynasty, alive during 

                        Council of Orleans. A cottage full of heretics in 

                        Orleans. Where there is smoke, there may 

                        be Lolita or The Bluest Eye. 

                        Thích Quảng Đức in his robes and lotus.

                        The Stonewall’s disco ball. Mississippi crosses.

                        AME altars. The Tsar’s Odessa. 

                        Kristallnacht synagogues. The ovens. 

                        Underbrush. Where there is smoke, someone 

                        feeds on flame.

Behind the poem...

Written after an acrylic painting titled Colorado Conflagration by artist Diane Drapcho, my poem featured in a gallery show in Youngstown, Ohio, called Women Artists: A Celebration. It was sponsored by the local YMCA, and several women writers (including me) were commissioned to write ekphrastic poems inspired by the show’s artwork – some of which were read at a gallery reception.

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