Pity the Fire

I move the dust around. It stirs with ease
as I replace the books upon the shelf
where they belong, with all my longing, keys
to space and time. I close my eyes to self
and try forgetting all that I have learned
of life as though I’d had control of it,
but found I never did—as if I’d burned
through it, a forest fire raging. Who lit
my life? Who made me memorize it all,
left me behind and charred? Who can I blame
for all of this, the summer of my fall?
I weep the rain to smother arson’s flame.
I feel the soot of sacrifice crash on my back
and every little thing that burns me turns to black.





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Charles (Charlie) Southerland lives on his farm in North-Central Arkansas where he bales hay, mills lumber, hunts and fishes. When he has time, he writes poetry on just about every subject. He is published in Trinacria, The Rotary Dial, First Things, The Road Not Taken and other journals. He has been nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize and is a finalist in the 2015 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Contest. He likes to write sonnets, villanelles and sapphics.