8.02 / February 2013

Two Poems

Biography of Teenagers

listen to this poem

We’ll write our biography when we’re teenagers
and before we grow into our teeth. Before we meet
people who will laugh at us for reasons we’ll talk about
when we’re older and you’re divorced and I’m divorced too.
And we’ll both still know our exes because we have to
and not because we want to. We’ll write our biography
before we kiss in the tunnel to the log chute ride,
our log smacking against the rail, and we pretended
for that part of the ride we were old and blind.
We’ll write that I squirmed next to you when you said
there were snakes and that they’d launch themselves
like canned confetti into that log that wasn’t a real log
of course, that the kids somewhere behind us said
the water smelled like piss. We’ll tell everyone
in our biography that then our teeth glowed in that dark
light when we laughed, before what happens to us.

Treasure in Timber

listen to this poem

In lakes, floating logs ignite,
burn. All the fury is finally here.

Trees hurl and burn quickly. A set
of black bones once moved here.

Not a fire spilling lost, racing down,
not fast enough. Bodies in positions of flight.

Before the body, clothes and skin burn
away. The wife fought a burning house by hand.

The fire remembered the spared-
people, a creek,

kept wet all night
and their homes timber. Pausing to consume.

Darkness remembered the name
of fire as a child. One forest rolled

with lights. Ships coughing their way
toward smoke. Towns disappeared.

Families drove stunned in ashes. A suffocated cave,
a touch of smoke robbing the dark.

Eventually, wind rolled into rain.
The fire, the one after the last, died out.

Bad bodies made in the woods.
It was only grand and horrible the treasure in timber.

Jenny Sadre-Orafai is the author of the chapbooks Weed Over Flower, What Her Hair Says About Her, Dressing the Throat Plate, and Avoid Disaster. She is Atlanta Regional Editor for Coldfront Magazine and is co-founding editor of The Night Outside and Josephine Quarterly. She teaches at Kennesaw State University.
8.02 / February 2013