Dear John

​for John Clark III

My body freezing in little gasps
in sync with maple, oak and fir.

Storm trees like reliving the fire,
the crack and shatter a sort of PTSD
flames engulfing Oakland.
Eucalyptus drowning out the air.

Dear John—

amid the musky cloy of candlewax
I trust you not to start a fire
not to set the building ablaze
or me

Dear John—

in my dream you are a ghost in the graveyard
a pale bloom on a thin spine
a rare red variant opening
along a volcanic basalt escarpment


truth more complex than thought
It’s been 20 years and
hey look I’m sorry—

I fell into flame I fell into sun
I became a winter storm
a swath of snow and ice


ask me how
to survive asking you
a lightning storm

you took my flame
the uninvited storm
out into the ocean
sea after sea
preparing for scorched

Dear One

in a barrage of downed branches
downy magnolia buds dipped in ice
a fire in the stove belly you tell me

to summon breath you tell me
what happens between the notes
is the living


Laura LeHew

About Laura LeHew

Laura LeHew is the author of a full-length book of poems, two chapbooks, numerous articles and with
poems in American Society: What Poet’s See, Eleven Eleven, Ghost Town, Of/With, PANK, and Slice among others. She is on the steering committee for the Lane Literary Guild and is an active volunteer for the Oregon Poetry Association having held a variety of positions. Laura interned for, and is a former board member of CALYX Press. She received her MFA from the California College of Arts. Laura edits her small press Uttered Chaos, knows nothing of gardens or gardening but is well versed in the cultivation of cats
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