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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Signal Fire

By: Dawn Terpstra

When afternoon slides like a sigh

gentle down twilight’s slope, into 

the silk-smooth pocket of evening,

I catch a spark and start a blaze for you.

I’ve started many during the years 

in a circle atop this land of prairie hills, 

valleys cool with shade-tree woodlots 

spit-sputtering with speckled streams.

In this wild place, winds blow cold and close, 

footpaths dark and dense. Days lose you in 

wandering, the chase swallows you whole.

On a hilltop, fire and I burn tall for you to see,

sparks pop your name into night’s black heart. 

Come, let’s sit tight upon a rock, share wine

from a bottle, faces warm beyond days’ crackling, 

laugh at our foolish, intrepid spirits, aged-ripe, 

and seek less the arduous adventure,

more the shelter of soft embrace before 

darkness grows bright with embers’ glow and 

stones lose the heat of remembering.


Dawn Sly-Terpstra is pursuing her lifelong passion of writing poetry, short fiction and non-fiction. She values the mentorship she finds from the poets of Omega and the authors from Sisyphian Scribes. With masters degrees in both anthropology and family studies, she enjoys discoveries of culture, magic, and family wherever she travels. With deep roots in her home state, she is inspired by connections to people and the world she finds outside her door in the rural countryside. Her work has been published in Lyrical Iowa and Haiku Journal, with work forthcoming in Meat for Tea: The Valley Review. She has spent a career in communications and marketing and currently leads a corporate communications team.

"Reunion and relationships travel hand-in-hand. I think of reuniting with a loved one or rediscovering the self after a journey or being away too long. As we grow older, time and experience change us. The power of unconditional love, for another or for the self, is that flame that always burns, despite change."

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