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Campfire

Josephine Pino

 

Blue base and feathered gold

light sprouting agave

 

violent flames

toss pent up heat

 

My cheeks catch hot and flush rose, and

juniper sweet smoke blows

 

over my tongue as

I taste screaming wood

 

and chemical starter

assaults my nose.

 

The hickory crack burn rages

yet a chill remains, stubborn

 

at my neck’s nape and root of

my spine, the place where the denim

 

of my jeans ends, gaping beltless

beneath the edge

 

of my sanguine shirt,

cold pouring upward grazing skin.

 

Or perhaps it is in my imagination,

a background recognition

 

that cold refuses to leave; it only

becomes buried by the creeping hot air

 

as striated wood releases itself

into oblivion, sucking oxygen.

 

It’s better than the worms.

And I peer into the flame with

 

unfocused vision, reality clouded by

smoky scotch, melting into peaty warmth

 

that reaches

neurons of me not bloomed here,

 

not touched by the flame

though in it I give myself permission

 

to see what isn’t there,

faces of people forgotten, beasts with

 

teeth bared,

albatross wings

 

soaring.

Low moans, gurgles and hoots and

 

absent sounds emanate

from the fire even as it

 

flickers in death  and

folds into the ash

 

leaving behind astral embers

lest we be left,

 

vision blurred,

thinking that none of it mattered

Josephine Pino is an educator, social justice warrior, and marine biochemist who recently discovered a passion for poetry. She enjoys exploring the intersecting lines between humans, emotions and nature. Josephine grew up in the rich cultural and natural beauty of New Mexico and now resides near lovely green Portland, Oregon. She teaches Biology at Portland Community College. She recently published her first poem, in El Portal.

"As a biologist, I find poignancy in the beautiful intricacy of things that we know exist although we cannot see them directly. "Campfire, sanguine" spilled forth during a time in which I was in the midst of a mysterious health scare and it represents both my fear for my future and a recognition of the beauty of life yet to be lived."