Two Poems by Larry D. Thomas

Wildfire

(Far West Texas)

Ignited by sheet lightning,

fueled by tinder of grass and weed

weeks dead from grueling

desiccation by the sun,

it rages uncontrolled

on the flanks of a Davis Mountain.

Wide eyes shining

with tongues of fire,

faith rekindled

by a brazen sign of God,

the believers stare out their windows

over charred landscape

rife with stone for tablets,

crackling with the righteous

conflagration of the bush.

 

In Big Bend Ranch

State Park, at what was once the ranch house,

one could rent a room by the night.

Though the rooms were spacious, clean,

tastefully decorated and equipped

with a wood-burning fireplace,

 

the lodgers had to share the kitchen and baths.

We stopped by just to check the place out.

The sole couple staying there

greeted us at the gate, assuming

we were new lodgers.  Said they’d recently

 

moved to the Texas Hill Country

from Colorado.  When asked

how they liked the park, the wife tactfully

praised the red blooms of the ocotillo

as her husband simply said, “Stark.”

 

I can still see, against the backdrop

of seemingly endless Chihuahuan Desert,

their slowly evaporating smiles

and their eyes widening when we said

we were only dropping by;

 

wide eyes lifeless as those

closed by the fingers of a priest

blessing the newly dead.  As we were leaving,

I asked how long they’d been there.

They replied it was their second day.  Of seven.

 

Larry D. Thomas, a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and the 2008 Texas Poet Laureate, has published twenty-two collections of poetry.  Among his many awards are two Texas Review Poetry Prizes, two Western Heritage Wrangler Awards, and the Violet Crown Book Award.