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  • When you're dry like this
    anything can start it,

    a chainsaw, cigarette,
    the black head of a match.

    You can't see inside, or
    where it started

    but you can smell it -- the sweet sage
    strawberry blonde prairie, blackened. Even the moon smoldering.

    And there is smoke at the horizon, and smoke that hovers at the tree line,

    and a ringed shoreline at the reservoir that twists itself around what little water remains.

    You find yourself unable to breathe or remember breathing

    with the heat on your skin, the grand emptiness of rejuvenation --

    there is only what's left
    in the ashes,

    which you roll your body in, all black dirt,
    and come up covered in the tragedy

    of cycles of birth and drought,
    sucking on your own fingers to clean the skin

    and touch the earth again, digging your hands in to where the water used to rise to meet you

    and waiting for a rain that won't come til winter, when you are lonelier,

    your throat dry, having finally
    offered everything you thought you needed.
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