SPRING 2013 (Issue 78)

Kara van de Graaf

Controlled Burn

I mark the trunk with chalk.  My fingers
stain neon, the sign I leave the men
to show them what is expendable.

Though every tree is flawed:
alder with a mummified arm, redwood
found hollow, debris tunneled into the center

like a hive.  Sometimes death is the only way
to stay alive.  Sequoias germinate
under the black stamp of fire. Sires

survive to carry the char. If I stay
with them and mark my own chest
like a door, would I be tender?