Between the Burning


All night
Under the cold stars of autumn,
I have been burning two stumps:
Between the burning of the stumps,
And the writing of poetry,
I wonder if the stumps are burning,
Or if I am burning them in my hands.

In my vigil hours,
I wonder if God will come in sparks,
Tonight,
I wonder if there are angels in
          pine trees,
And I wonder,
Always,
I am wondering,
the way an old man will no longer
          crouch by the shore of a lake
          where many ducks are swimming,
Instead he is content to just stand
          there and look.
I wonder if a man can live and die
          between two stumps,
Or is one better than the other?

- Michael Warren Eliseuson