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Awoosatash Mountain Fire Tower Meditation

Henry Hart

Every morning, I stoke the stove with campers’ trash,
hear coyotes break bones and bicker in the flames.
On the pond below, sunlight skates on splintered ice.
The valley breathes, but never says a word.
            Without you, I’m the needle trembling in the compass,
            the sunflower stooping at the bottom of a well.

Yesterday, the radio played “All Along the Watchtower,”
news of a CEO buying pearl-studded umbrellas for his dog.
Dusk hardened the summit’s stunted fir in amber.
Blueberry bushes bared their nerves to frost.
            Without you, I’m the needle trembling in the compass,
            the sunflower shivering at the bottom of a well.

Last summer, helicopters dropped bucket after bucket
of water on fires climbing toward the tower.
Trout flipped like silver dollars into smoke.
The sun’s red sail sank into the horizon’s surf.
            Without you, I’m the needle trembling in the compass,
            the sunflower sweating at the bottom of a well.

Today, I study charred runes leaning every which way
across the slopes, a woodpecker tapping love songs
on a half-dead trunk, blue jays pecking crumbs from rock.
The moon still floats like a lotus above the mountain.
            Without you, I’m the needle trembling in the compass,
            the sunflower waiting at the bottom of a well.

 
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