Landing in Chisana
Chisana is a lost ghost town.
Even the ghosts have disappeared.
Spruce trees crack against starlight
and something jostles an owl from a limb.
A few cabins stare at me as if grousing,
long-dead gold-rushers scrape moose-hides
for a last fool’s meal, and they can still chink
drunk ballads through their jawbones.
It’s a great night for an alien craft to drag a fire
through Chisana. Great night for my snow-tow
to break through creek ice. Great dark half-year
for me to start laughing, Chisana’s all blind.
Burning the Sorghum Patch
We burnt the moldy sorghum stalks
to kill the spores, and to rescue the next
planting. Crows perched on spindly sumac,
or on fence posts. A few were circling
through the smoke, and one of them eased
down and beaked a lizard near the fire.
“Ain’t worth a cob,” my father said.
I thought it wasn’t worth a poem, either.
Now forty-three years later, the moldy stalks
chase my words. I listen to some crows cawing
at snow. One of them scratches into the snow,
pulls out a mouse, and tears into it. This is
at sunrise, other things keep tearing into the words.
©2018 Clyde Kessler | Home