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



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."