Bonfire Travelers – a poem by Lynn Finger

Bonfire Travelers

We camp in the Santa Catalinas,
saturation of sage, mesquite, mackerel
sky, wind threaded bird song.
We’re office warriors, but quarantine
sends us out. We set up a twisted tent

that leans in the tough ground. Darkness
layers, we build a fire. We decide to make
mulligan stew. We take an empty coffee
can, fill it with raw burger, carrots
& potatoes. Put it right in the bonfire.

It’s a haiku: the tent, the flames,
the shawl of stars. We hold hands
& wait hungry. Finally, we pull the can
straight from embers with tongs,
pour it out onto plates. It’s juice-stained

& raw. What does it mean we can’t
turn fire to cook meat, no matter
how hot the embers? We toss it.
It’s the connection
to the flame that makes it right,

not what comes out. We trust the
fire still. We make smores: chocolate,
marshmallow & graham crackers,
crackling on sticks, like fishermen,
or women, a good supper under the pines.

We burrow into lumpy sleeping bags,
our minds awakened to the distant stars.
“We can’t cook, can we?” you say.
“What does it matter?” I say.
“The stars are here, & they love us.”

.

Lynn Finger’s work has appeared in the Ekphrastic Review, MineralLitMag, Night Music Journal, Journal of Compressed Arts, and is forthcoming in Drunk Monkeys, Feral, and Tiny Seed. Lynn also works with a group that mentors writers in prison.

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