from Winter Diary

by Susan Gillis

21 December

bonfire at the bottom of the first field as the sun approached the horizon
     a high ridge interrupted by trees

the five of us lit long matches to the understory of kindling at the same moment
     the sky pearly, dove-mauve, stayed light for quite awhile

dusk deepened, the fire deepened and brightened
     we threw old letters and charms into the flames

the pyre collapsed in a crash and blaze of sparks
     I was ladling out bowls of hot cider

everyone’s Oh! as though one
     exhalation of sparks spraying up, up, spinning at the corner of my eye

I turned to watch the glimmers climb and vanish
     what awful sound would have come out if I had opened my throat then

my father so newly dead
     the solar year beginning

— from Juniper Volume 3, Issue 3