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Janice D. Soderling

It started with some minor brush fires on a hot day.
(Sly hints. Obvious untruths. Blatant lies.)
A yellow haze hung over the thorn bushes.

Came a hasty rise in radiant heat
and a thousand fruit bats (count them),
tumbled dead in my mind's orchard.

Came a ninety-degree turn by the wind.
A narrow line of light reared on red haunches
to roar over me. (It was more alive than I was.)

In old rivers of thought, dry nests of crows exploded in fireballs.
Spotted fawns perished, and sharp-quilled hedgehogs.
Whole flocks of wild pigs squealed and fell shriveled.

(Devastation. Ashes. Silence.)
Time passed. One day the willow greened
and a speckled thrush settled on a charred limb to sing.


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