by Jeff Whitney

I’ve learned how to say A horse running through water.
Still working on the forest is burning! the forest is burning!

In the first days, before humans and kangaroos, the whole world was water.
Now anyone can walk, hands in pockets, counting the sky’s many burns.

The morning had to go somewhere. So we let it. The way
humans herd a whipping fire to keep the whole forest from burning.

Longest day of the year and still too short by half, I would say.
Candles: that’s how we must go: snuffed out, slightly burning.

That Plexiglas on the bridge? People used to jump from there,
their screams like sounds of an alternate realm where everything was burning.

Horses like oilrigs along the plain.
The sun behind them, burning.

Jeff Whitney is the author of four chapbooks, one of which, a collaboration with Philip Schaefer, is forthcoming from Phantom Limb Press. Recent poems can be found in birdfeast, Devil’s Lake, Salt Hill, and Verse Daily. A graduate of the University of Montana, he lives and teaches in Portland. He can be found online at