How Close

Poem by Seanse Lynch Ducken

as close as a berry is to its own warm

How Close

This close. This close and moving fast. You ask, how close
is “this close,” and I can only explain, as close as a breath
is to a body. As close as a berry is to its own, warm
blood. That the fire is another breath, another vein, of this
hill or that ridge – that is not what you might call dramatic.
What you might call exaggeration. Because this is the season
of waiting – of holding that breath back until it beats against
some summer bruised lung. July 4th and we hear the sirens
wail down county roads. Otherwise: campfires curling
over blackened logs, an empty glass left too long in the sun,
cars backfiring on I-90. One year, a man flipped a burning
matchbook out of his car window and all of Elk Heights
was swept up by that flame. How close? As close as the wind
is to the valley floor, dragging that tail of fire all the way.


Seanse Lynch Ducken received her MFA in Poetry through Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Her work has appeared in the 2nd edition of the online anthology, A Sense of Place: The Washington State Geospatial Poetry AnthologyWindfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, Mudfish 19Noble/Gas Qtrly, and Ecotone. She currently teaches English at Central Washington University.