Guest Poem by Alan Zhukovski

Alan Zhukovski is a poet and translator. His work has appeared in The London Magazine, Poetry Salzburg Review, Oxford Poetry, Agenda, Wild Court, New Statesman, Ambit, The Threepenny Review, Poetry International Rotterdam, Tin House, Gulf Coast, Asymptote, and elsewhere.

The Blasphemy of Fire

The wind still smokes cigarettes
of old trees in chaotic packs
and throws their ashes onto the village.
Numerous people have gathered to save
what remains of the ancient forest.
Sacred trees, black and white, fall to pieces.
They crumble like bones, chewed by heat.
Tiny birds made of burning debris
sometimes reach the right bank of the river
but fail to ignite it. Lush willows
have suffered some damage:
their tongues have been scorched—
and they cool them by kissing the river.