In her consistent ability to write a perfect line of poetry—and the river rose thirty-three feet above the highway and took what it wanted, and it wanted nearly everything, and left just the sidewalks—Gillian Wegener upsets the idea we’re all in this together. Since the turn of the century, she has won the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize (twice), the Zocalo Public Square Prize for Poetry of Place, and other awards. A junior high teacher, she has served as the poet laureate for Modesto, and published two other books.
After Dry Lightning
Eight hundred fires are burning, and
we are all advised to stay indoors.
The sun is an electric pink disc.
You could almost hold its pink light
in your cupped hands, malleable as clay.
The black lizards of the forests
burrow deep. The air becomes
opaque, a world of ghosts,
and I, disobeying good advice,
run from backyard to front to see
the raging colors of sunset—odd,
fiery gift—and taste the smoke
on the back of my parched tongue.
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