Prescribed Burn in a Prairie Region
Where I live, spring is a burning season.
It appears in patches around town: here
a stretch of ditchbank, there someone's backyard.
Big, hand-lettered signs on the curb reassure,
"Prescribed Burn Today." This is planned.
This is safe fire. And when it is done, in the space
of an afternoon, the field is flat and soot.
These days new leaves cup the sun's light
and let it spill so that it too seems young,
completely breakable, already broken.
My daughter sings in her carseat
Twinkle little little star
Wonder wonder wonder are
Give up whatever burnt offering you are
but recall also the speeding ticket received
on this road just months ago. Go slow
(everything happens at once) as you drive past
the silver sliver spears of brand new grass
already hatched to catch light, already
chuffing their heat.
Oh silent conflagration, perpetual
blessing, perpetual fire at 25 miles per hour.