I Remember Field Burning


By Russell Brickey

By noon a cinder haze encircles the sun: the fire lens rolls across the sky.
Empty storefronts wake as the curtains rise. 

Let us rethink who we are. 

Shadows tumble over zones seared by men hauling science fiction on their backs until the Moon is a red pearl, then a heart pared to its rarest meat as seven die, three burned to death beneath an eighteen-wheeler.

I remember the radio, a tiny voice, a father who mails pictures of his scorched family to the governor.

Still, what can one do? Grass must be grown. Grass must be burnt. Money depends upon it.

Now the bees have come back to the planet. Fish are streaming to our cities like stars. The river is on fire. Our best and bravest have gone overseas, but our Valhalla, great and tall, with its concourses of traffic and skyways of jet-streams, gleams over the continent nonetheless.

But I remember field burning, smudged blue air, red skies at dusk.

Home is where the deep earth burns for you. That’s who we are.


Russell Brickey has books out from Wild Leaf Press, (Atomic Atoll), Spuyten Duyvil Press (He Knows What a Stick Is), and Aldritch Press (Cold War Evening News). He studied creative writing at Purdue and the University of Oregon and now lives in the Rust Belt far away from his native Northwest mountains and beaches.