Because the wood was slick with snow, because
my hands were numbed with cold,
the tepee’d shape refused to rest,
falling to force a simpler form,
of two logs spaced apart, and then a beam abreast.
Outside, the New Mexican night is ice.
Trees crack and crackle
but there are no other sounds, no sound.
Even the wind has shivered itself to death
and the Milky Way seems speechless.
The beam-log burns, flat-black,
flames creeping around its sides.
The pyre is waiting for you.
Better than the sliding door we rushed you through,
better than the grey trail from the stack
as we drove away.
I owed you more than this cremation.
This way you can take your time,
stoked up and burning with open glory,
serene in the warmth of home,
your lungs as ever filled with smoke.
Lew Watts is originally from Wales and, after
many years working in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, moved
recently to the US where he works as an energy consultant in
Washington DC. His poetry has been published previously in
various magazines and anthologies in Europe, and my first US
work will this year in Decanto (UK), Modern Haiku, New Mexico
Poetry Review, Ribbons, Raintown Review and Umbrella.