Flames of Snow

Photo: Billy Kitchen.

3 September 2017

The river caught fire at dawn.
Gulls rose, white flames,
and went out,
camouflaged against the white
wood houses.  The river hissed
against the sides of rowboats.
Each one shot into separate flames.
A lone lobster boat crawled,
with caution, through the fire.
How like a salamander
as its prow pierced the edge
of the bay bordering the river,
the bay fire was yet to ignite,
yet to burn through the hovering
veil of cloud the sky wore,
sky, still, before the bold light.
The corrugated roofs of boatsheds glowed
griddle-hot, birds kept clear of.
A breeze up caused sway trees,
slowly, from side to side,
like mourners keening at a wake.
Then the river burned out
just as rowers arrived,
as though a fire brigade come
dowsing the flames, though flamed
their oars the river,
gone grey-blue, gulls
settled on, cool
as flakes of snow.

Philip Kuepper
(20 July 2017)

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