Arson


By Janet Ruth

Dawn has soaked
the purple rags of morning
in piñon pitch and then
flipped a match.
Sparks catch
a trailing fringe of violet,
ruby embers glow, then
a conflagration
—scarlet, tangerine, gold, and fuchsia—
echoes in orb-contained flames,
as balloons rise to the south
over the Río Grande.


Janet Ruth is an emeritus research ornithologist and lives in New Mexico. She has published scientific papers on bird ecology and natural history essays in Birding and Birdwatcher’s Digest. She participated in the 2015 Bread Loaf ORION Environmental Writers Conference. Her poetry focuses on connections to the natural world.