Issue Thirty-Nine - Winter 2022

Early Seral Stage

By Carey Taylor

We rode together, you and I down that blanketed coastal road.
Port Orford to Bandon and back again. Me, at the front
of the bus to not get queasy. You, inside the ocean
of my belly. In the beginning, we knew nothing of charred ground.
What came before. What would come after. But after
losing your father and now me, you will track back
to the same ground we bumped along so many years ago.
You will discover Bandon burned to the ground before
you were born. Realize not all fires can be contained,
nor are all fires lethal. You will stand outside the hospital
where I delivered the pomegranate burn of you. See a girl
inside a girl. I know now, our words were door slams
that startled you. Sometimes red tail-lights. Always
the smell of horse. I see how hard you tried to wet the house
from ember. Control the burn. But honey, not even pandemic,
protest, or homeland burning has stopped us. You may forgive us.
You may not. Either way, you will find solace in the sanctuary
you ran to as a girl—among fireweed, vine maple, soft green
of huckleberry, hummingbird, in the purple bell of foxglove.

Copyright Taylor 2022