Unfound

Paul walked under a canopy of alders—
a thirty year restoration of a dry lightning burn.

He wondered if the earth saw the area
fire-voided trees as a scar

as part of the beauty of the earth being itself
or a surface matter of little consequence.

Animals repopulated the alders as to their liking.
Others remained away missing the old growth.

Paul admitted to no one present
that the shade was different. Cooling but different.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

North Face

Paul cries.
His tears strike his palms like rolling thunder.
Black motes pock his life line.

The clouded sky echoes his sentiment.
Lightning crowns the mountains.
Electric thorns seeking Jesus.

Paul’s nostrils fill with ozone,
the crisp of a struck ponderosa,
the sap seared to carbon.

He gasps for air between sobs.
He claws the sky seeking purchase.
This letting go shreds him.

Four now. The disassociations.
The angels between sheets of rain.
The snow angel of his prostrate flailing.

He throws rocks and fists at his other selves.
A puncher’s chance.
A knockout blow.

Trauma drunk. He staggers to the tree line.
Dark limbs embrace warmer air.
Alders peel the thunder of its crash.


copyright © 2019 Kenneth P. Gurney