Deep South v.1 n.3 (Spring, 1995)
The sky has split open. Reindeer burned to ashes, hunting dogs blazing like hurled torches. The Shanyagir tribe is soot in the air, the herdsmen, the nomads, the old men, the hunters, storage huts, tepees, blown to the sky in a sudden hot whirlwind. The whimpering dog cowers near me, his ribs against my leg, as if to merge his flesh with mine and see with my eyes what he does not understand. The shocked air is sharp with resin and ash. Birches and pines uprooted, flat, stretching away to the end of sight, in long inert columns, fallen on hills and in bogs, felled in their thousands, stripped and clean shaven, silent and dead. A raven hops on his broken leg in this land of cinders and carbon, croaking terror into the silence, no branch to settle on. Thin smoke rises from hot earth, like spirits escaping, singes my soles. Ashes drift down, a snowstorm in summer, the pale sun smoking. The dog and the raven and I, three erect in a land of horizon, form a lonely forest of three. One to fear, one to question, one to cry to the barren hills, their intimate curvature open now to the dry velvet weeping of the ravaged sky. A hot breeze stirs the ash and reveals a mouse's charred skull. Its solemn eye sockets deep as the ragged hole in the heavens, full of death, full of memory.