They say the Fern Lake fire is still burning
up around Estes Park.
It started in October in dry brush, open flame,
and then the snows of the eastern Rockies came,
but it still burns on below, Inuk fire,
too remote for hotshot crews,
and anyway it is April now —
who fights fires in early spring?

The last front dropped fourteen inches in the garden
around the new birdbath,
but memory being what it is,
full of non sequiturs
and awkward prompts that pull thoughts
where they wouldn’t choose to go,
I can’t see the birdbath, its blue supplicant bowl
piled up like a wedding cake with snow
and not see Berkeley evenings.

There was a lime tree in the back
wasn’t there?
on Dwight Way or Parker Street,
tart-green on the tongue, bittersweet —
and spaghetti dinners, a honey-skinned guitar.

But here in the foothills,
far below Fern Lake,
almost three decades gone,
I’ll wrap the snow in my arms
where it has piled up on the birdbath,
where the snow has bent
the branches of the sour cherry,
bring it melting to the kitchen,
so it came,
and so we came and went.

One thought on “Valedictory

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