I can still see it, just a touch of what
you might call its lip, or maybe a long knife-ready
underbelly. The sturgeon moon is swimming
through the trees. Below it and all around what's all
around us, what used to be woods is a hole
in the night, ten acres sawn and burnt and burning.
Our neighbor cut some timber for money and now
is clearing for hay or cows (he can't decide),
and we could watch from almost every window
all through the day the strange flames settle with
the ground. They were huge flowers blooming or
the repeated risings of an orange crow
that could not fully rise, but was tethered instead
by hunger, or curiosity. And tonight,
coal-bright, this fishy eye is telling us something
we already know: What's burnt is always burning,
and then that funny thing about summer trees—
for a moment the blaze of an early moon, then nothing.
Virginia Quarterly Review Winter 2014
Copyright © 2014 by Nathaniel Perry
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission