Poem Of The Week | burnt offerings by Anne Casey

burnt offerings

By Anne Casey

swilling cinders
of eucalypt forests burning up
and down the coast
tinged with hints of fear
singed possum hairs lifting into
clear blue air
an earthquake in Italy shakes me awake
a mother crying somewhere
volcanic embers cycling into
smoke of broken promises
women’s choices smouldering
charred remains of exiles’ lives
democracy doused with lies
and set on fire
headless horsemen prancing in the coals
blackened souls stirring
soot from scorched relics
ashes to ashes

and my mother in a box too small
to hold her all
laid in a field with all the others
when she could have flown
with the four winds
so I could taste again
the sharp tang of her loss
married to the rest

lately everything tastes of ash

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Photo by Jacalyn Beales on Unsplash

(First published in apt literary journal, July 2017)