The Forest Fire
What are you? Rare breed calf-human boy hybrid,
ornamental pot-bellied pig, saint’s face imposed
on the head of a mature tapir? I get that a lot.
One tends not to probe identity issues too deeply
when one’s forest is burning. The birds wheel aimlessly
here and are too heavy for the branches. One of them
is wingless yet suspended mid-air. I blame disturbances
in magnetic fields caused by the lack of distinct seasons.
in the foreground it is winter but, in the background
a luxurious amber summer is spreading out. The trees
are as furry and soft as mink. See me walking around
with my brother looking back upon the disintegration
of the natural order- a grass eater growling at a mountain
lion. Incongruence was like a powerful drug to our creator.
See how despair fills the bodies of the bears/oversized
Tasmanian devils/prehistoric sabercats, they can barely
stand with the weight of it. Notice that deer are inherently
spiritual animals and frequently tilt their heads upwards-
how vulnerable this makes them seem! If you stare at
a gazelle’s leap for survival, it will make you joyous. If you
stare at that running bull for long enough, the angle
of its legs will confuse you. Even if we called to that man,
“Save us!”, he would ignore us. Obsessed with mead
and milk maids that never appear. No idea he is as much
a prisoner here as we are. He refuses to look at the fire directly.
I don’t know what started this blaze, or why the canopies
of those trees are particularly flammable. A collection
of mysteries. Isn’t that what a forest is? But it’s too late.
A touch paper has been lit in in my animal heart. My brother
and I are running away to a new vista, just visible beneath
the orderly stream of those non-specific flying things
in the distance. It is opening up as we run. The sea, the sea!
Waves are rolling in, again and again, like beautiful new beginnings.
Fiona's poetry and short stories have been published in Lighthouse, The Blue Nib, Into the Void, Boyne Berries and Skylight 47, amongst many others. Her short fiction was nominated for the Australian Morrison Mentoring prize in 2014 and 2015, and her poetry was selected for the National Poetry Day Ireland 2019 ‘Labellit’ project. Her poem 'Moon' was nominated for The Best of the Net.
The Ekphrastic Review
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