September Seventeenth

Image of Long Story Short Award - Fall 2020
Image of Poetry
It was somewhere in Idaho
scrubby, stinking
And night settled in like fog about the shoulders;
stealing away the sage in hazy black,
the tumbleweeds drifting into the abyss.

I often feel like September sixteenth,
small and s w a l l o w e d
By smoke clouds thick and sickly sweet,
the blue of the sky hidden
behind misty heart and eyes and mind

And I can't breathe
sometimes, sorry
Because it's too heady and too heavy
and I cry for the weight of it
while west coast evergreens burn.

I cannot escape
sorrow, salinity,
For my tremors and fears and pains and grief
come from a traitorous brain

and yet

I am reaching,
a suffocating sunflower for the rain
like that which fell somewhere in Washington
on September eighteenth
And cleared the skies
and I'll clear mine –

I am somewhere in life,
sifting slowly
Through stagnant pools of patterned pain
and drawing out the thoughts that hope,
because I am not hopeless
And I’m learning to hold close the precious light.