PoetryIssue 02 | December 2008

Two Poems by Christine Potter

Passing the Wildfire

(Montana, August 2007)

After driving past the hundred hills
of Western Pennsylvania, sky blue
and still as a dry swimming pool—
after the Great Plains in their weary

glare, our car a little sun, glinting
in motel parking lots late afternoons
and at dawn—after all that, smoke
and cold water in a stainless steel sink

at the rest stop an hour east of Missoula.
I splash my face, run wet fingers through
my hair.  Breath catches in my throat
like soup, oversalted and boiled almost

to nothing.  A couple on a motorcycle
masks their faces with damp towels.
It’s news on local radio, but only human
interest: stalwart joggers in the haze,

children at the park anyway, this state’s
late summer.  Brown clouds like dried blood,
an in-law on the cell phone: really last week’s
heat was worse than this. Just past town,

half-smothered coals like orange stars
in black grass that just brushes the edge
of the road.  Then we’re past it, and almost
all the way West. I won’t smell fire again

until tonight, when I pull today’s shirt
over my head, sitting on a cool white bed
at considerable altitude, dizzy from it
but grateful for this twilight’s clarity.

At the windows, half lost in shadow,
six-story cedars flap their shaggy branches
like slow wings getting ready to land,
calmly descending, circling into night.

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Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok