Maroon To feel like I’m escaping an uncontrollable season, I head to Maroon Bells. A moose rested on Maroon Lake. The guide at the entrance said, “keep moose a thumb-cover away,” so I gave that moose a thumb’s up and wink. Maybe next time it could help out and gesture back, I am ready to feel clasped by this planet, for my support system to include poetry and the poetry of land. I find it helpful when my feet are bare against sanded shore of lake or creek. A comforting memory evokes smiles, but I’m comforted thinking of you at your most hollowed, empty as wintered slopes. If we learn anything from mountain topography, it’s the creative way to remove reality; to pretend flood season isn’t coming after the char. Or to avoid comparing bodies with the continental divide; streams, blackened burn scars, deep crimson canyons, death-red cliffs. I ask the white-watered stream, “Is there anything else who is hurting? Is there something I can do to show I care?” When I sense her glacier-fed body tightening like screw into wood, I quietly repeat: someday you’ll know, someday you’ll know— An Ache I don’t mean to seem like I’m complaining, I never want that warmth to set, not even for a period to sleep, but today it’s one-hundred degrees with no sign the fires throughout these Rockies will pause. I’m really missing cool breezes on chipped porches—I have a difficult time facing pastel colors and palmed yucca during midday when we’re at our warmest, but I breathe. I read and reread “A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island” and I ache all throughout, sweating spine and hips I forget to acknowledge, so consumed with endless day—Someday you’ll know—and I do know I want that backcountry erosion of self, of rising darkly, a body as shadow cooled from dark loam beneath the uncontrollable flamespread. A friend from elsewhere asks “What’s the difference between burn season and wildfire season?” I’ve been feeling a lot of silence in and around me; when children skip rocks on the creek while adults grill meat and still smoke cigarettes. There is silence at the opening of cans. The difference between burn season and wildfire season is silence. Sunbathing through Wildfire Season To mutate into something else, I lie on a faded lounge chair by the pool despite the smoke-fueled air which makes the sun a hot-tinged scarlet. Muted and so perfectly round, I see it daily these days as I sunbathe through wildfire season, I stay still and silent while miles of evergreens burn seventy miles away, blowing to me. Or, I lie in a hammock and feel it cradle me as a body-bag where the wildfires become mute as the fabric folds lightly around, off-ground and comforting, off-ground I can trust the trees which hold me. I could use some more trees to prop me up: Aspens, Blue Spruce, Piñon. (I could use a little less rocked crag caves and flood paths within me.)
Kristiane Weeks-Rogers (she/her/hers) is a Poet-Writer among other titles such as copy editor. She’s the author of the poetry collection, Self-Anointment with Lemons (Finishing Line Press, 2021), and 2nd place winner of Casa Cultural de las Americas’ inaugural Poetic Bridges contest.
The Coop: A Poetry Cooperative’s Editor, Laura Lee Washburn, has selected July’s poems around the site’s current theme “We’re Speaking” to capture voices pushing back against the current attacks in the U.S. on human rights and on democracy. Citizens of Kansas have an attack on their state constitution on the ballot August 2nd on which we hope they will vote no in order to preserve the Kansas legacy of being a free state in which all citizens have bodily autonomy. We stand in solidarity with all people affected by current rulings from the radicalized Supreme Court.