Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts
Fiction   /   Nonfiction   /   Poetry

The Burning

by N. Scott Momaday


In the numb, numberless days

There were disasters in the distance,

Strange upheavals. No one understood them.

At night the sky was scored with light,

For the far planes of the planet buckled and burned.

In the dawns were intervals of darkness

On the scorched sky, clusters of clouds and eclipse,

And cinders descending.

Nearer in the noons

The air lay low and ominous and inert.

And eventually at evening, or morning, or midday,

At the sheer wall of wood,

Were shapes in the shadows approaching,

Always, and always alien and alike.

And in the foreground the fields were fixed in fire,

And the flames flowered in our flesh.