Amy Scharmann


Amy Scharmann

We watch the prairie burn
The stiff and lingering smoke-smell
Reminds us of childhood early-springs
Before the first bloom, that first
Controlled burn of the year
Lulling us to sleep miles away with
Its lengthening grey fingers
We’d wish for a skip to summer—
When lightning bugs begin
To dot the black night air
When owls dip down and up
Faster than a finger can track
We’re fascinated by their ability
To see clearly in the dark

We watch the prairie burn
And tell ourselves that we’re as small
As the anthills blistering near our feet
That coming out won’t matter
That two females make the same sense
To God and we might as well
Kiss as hard as a man might
If we were into that sort of thing
But we don’t, and there are
Dozens of mallets
Beating my bones soft

We watch the prairie burn
As if the orange glow contains
A lesson we’ve needed for some time
The dry grass incinerates—
Kansas is undressing before us

AMY SCHARMANN’s work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in TriQuarterly, New Orleans Review, PANK, Green Mountains Review, and elsewhere. Originally from Kansas, she now lives with her husband in Long Beach, CA. She occasionally tweets @amyscharmann.