by Sheila Murray-Nellis
Every day for weeks
smoke muffles the mountains.
Particulate on the incoming breath
flattens each hue to haze,
as flames lick their way
across the beetle-killed back country
stressed beyond endurance, sparked
by lightning strikes, the strike of a match.
The morn of the eclipse
the sun rises like any other day,
then comes the eerie light,
the chill without breeze;
smoke funnels down creeks
that slice the mountains,
but the sun at least we thought
would stay in place;
smouldering taints air,
then moon, going about her business,
creates havoc, places herself between,
interferes with light.
Animals are hushed;
from that inside place known only to you
where you nurture the silence,
you stayed there so long,
your inept attempts to,
if not make things right, at least
not block what light can still filter through
all the mess we’ve made.
Now moon finds her deference,
slides invisible into the greater light,
while these words, no more than chatter,
try to pierce the smoke that chokes out the blue
the clear blue.
Sheila Murray‑Nellis lives on Kootenay Lake in the interior of British Columbia, Canada, where she and her husband, an Orthodox priest, are building a Byzantine‑style stone chapel. She has had her poems published in Saint Katherine’s Review, Clarion Journal, Mslexia, and elsewhere and has two books, You Are Meant to Be Like Fire and Presence. She also writes children’s literature.