Fire Season

Written By: Clyde Kessler

Hazard pay is grunting in your wallet.

The wildfires in Colorado remember your lungs,

dead boots, hands stretched into sparks on a cliff.

You ask me for some more beers, maybe pony rides

for your twins. The barber in Christiansburg

is laughing about your sooty beard in the mirror.


I don’t see you working a fireline in the Rockies.

You’re home like a wearied hound jostling at the door.

Lightning hangs midnight against your wife’s face,

and you don’t tell her the trees out there were explosives

channeled through hell. Then you tune the new big screen

to the weather. The weatherman drags his face to you

and whispers there’s a mean fire in the hungry sky.

You latch the door, and shiver into the summer drapes.

Clyde Kessler lives in Radford Virginia with his wife Kendall and their son Alan. They have an art studio at their home called Towhee Hill. He is a founding member of Blue Ridge Discovery Center, an environmental education organization with programs in Virginia and North Carolina.