Fire Weather Watch

the dead are not like us
they come in simpler shapes

with worm-eaten hearts
hot for fire, whisper the oaks

in the curling litter of their leaves
under yellowing bracken

a weasel out hunting at dawn
sounds as loud as a deer

on the ridgetops a slow dry rain
of caterpillar droppings

as the cloudless sky whitens
with ash from Canada

no wonder so many insects
seem drawn to my sweat

and a hummingbird comes
each morning to drink from the hose

my deep-mulched garden
will die when my well runs low

but not before I’ve been crowned
emperor of toads

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