February 28th 2009
the wind smelled like matches and the sawmill’s glow
played like a campfire on the clouds, like a warmth
above the city. the porch door opened
and my father’s shadow strode across the lawn.
my father worked at the sawmill in missoula.
he would cross the clark fork on the old trestle bridge
to start the night shift with men who’d lost fingers
in the huge saws, eyes to flying chips of wood.
his shadow dreams of turning on the bridge
the sawmill in flames like a technicolor scene
in a film at the fox. silhouetted before an orange rage
and the collapsing of quonset buildings to slag
amid the sparks and screams of wood and steel, and the cries of men
my father’s dark bulk, returning.