Heather Rounds is a writer living in
Baltimore, MD. Her poems have recently appeared in 2River
Review, Poet Lore, Karamu and The Baltimore Review. She works in
the journals division of Johns Hopkins Press. Her mail id is-
AFTER THE FIRE
In the spot
of dirt where the porch once sat,
her grandchildren claim to feel her stirring.
She has become something to rascal
at night, dancing with the garbage
raccoons, burrowed into footprints.
The fine twirl of her nightgown
takes on the plasticity of ghosts.
They search for her teeth in the grains
at the edge of the spruces,
in the blood and bone of wood,
in the ash and debris that unsettle
the stew of the forest.
She is the spice
in the pine needles that are crumbling
under their feet as they pause
and leap inside the whispers that line
their eager and restless earth.
We are two small, living slants
on the side of this frozen volcano,
inside the protea's orchard.
These flowers are a stomp
on the inching of clouds,
an inflection in the island air voice,
a smack of severe
pink petals and abrupt yellow pistils,
a peacock dance from infinite angles,
spidering down our throats.
We exist as tense, small circles
inside a loose Hawaiian clock,
trying to match our circulation
to a reverie of slurred motion.
But this mountain?s orchard is patient
and moist around our faces,
and a rare smile on your face and a hint
of heather in your skin
from that old, heavy sun, leads me
to believe, for moments at least,
that anything, anyone is revisable.
Everything begins to occur
normally, after only a week of walking
the corn colored path.
Even the dot of a parrot,
a jungle blue, almost black
inside the dragon leaved
trees, becomes predictable.
Until the butterflies emerge
as a confetti of breath,
out of the earth, slipping
up into Mexico.
Can you fully explain it?
The way light meets between cracks in ancient stones?
The way pyramids move?
The way stars always return to a single place here?
The way butterflies never bounce far from earth?
There is a month of each year
when the tarantulas crawl
from their shallow holes and stretch
across these roads.
The people of this land have learned
to forgive them, to avoid them,
the murmur of noise that follows
as they come, go, breed, die.
It has been this way for centuries