Bread

We walk out for the view,
a mug of Irish tea and the paper,
to celebrate the old miracles:
the crust of the Hogback, red as brick,
even with the weather coming in,
its gnarled ridges alongside the new grass,
the gun-blue lake
filling and emptying.

Heat and water and milled earth
did this landscape’s cooking.
You weren’t thinking of them
when you baked this morning,
mixing seed and almond flour,
made a well and poured the liquid in,
paid no attention to the other magic —
that’s a poet’s job:
those massive ridges buckling in the fire,
or the snowmelt topping up
the bowl of the reservoir
they submerged a whole town for,
drowned the trees
and the everyday miracles of memories /
a weathered sign
is all that’s left of Stout.

Your bread sits by the window, cooling,
beaten and belching,
and breathing out.

Firestarter

Mr. Springer, who resides
at the dingy bungalow
on Constance Court
that we can see from the wooden deck
of our wooden house,
and who last Saturday started the fire
that burned a thousand acres of grass
due south along the lake —

that Mr. Springer,
who the neighbors,
shortly after, bilious,
suggested should go to prison
for the rest of his too-long life,
was just connecting
an electric fence.

Sparks flew.
They do
at high school dances and in fields
and sometimes catch fire
and run for all our panic water.

But now, across the road,
through the window of his living room,
I watch him watching television,
his generator in the driveway,
and around the place, the black grass
spread the way it did / not away
the way it did,
but sharp-tongued prairie now
licking up,
darkly, acidly
against the flickering wall
of his flickering house.