POETRY January 3, 2020


First, heaped pallets. Then fence
rails, a chair, armloads of scrap wood

and tonight they’ve finally lit it up,
every ragged bit blazing, a dozen kids

ringing its perimeter. We call them
kids though we know they’re not,

these neighbors likely older
than us the summer we met,

and though we’ve groused
like geezers at the growing eyesore,

we admit, from our porch, that now
it’s lovely: soft cracking and the tang

of smoke, flames thickening the dark
at the margins of our yard. The last

of the lightning bugs echo
the burning. Each body a beacon,

compelled to beauty even now.
Our garden’s gone quiet, save

for the asters, fringed faces
so hopeful I should have planted

a field. The sky is navy, slick
like vinyl. This hammock curves us

toward the other’s comfort.
Our neighbors, they’re just getting

started. They feed the flaring—
fallen tree limbs accepted

with urgency. All those branches
reblooming umber and ochre.

Abbie Kiefer’s poems are forthcoming or have appeared in The Cortland Review, The Penn Review, december, and other publications. She lives in New Hampshire. Find her online at http://abbiekieferpoet.com.