Burning Tree

From the south window she sees
the brittle ash tree, broken and ablaze.

She drags the hose, comes back
for a cane to make herself steady.

Inside and out. A little rest and
back to the task. No one to help.

It’s midnight before she is
satisfied and goes to bed.

In the morning, there are flames,
the tree burning in its core.

And work: hoses and soaking.
Through the day, licks of flame

come from the center. For days,
she says, you can see it smolder.

Tami Haaland’s
work has been featured on the Writer's Almanac, in High Desert Journal and 5 AM and in Letters to the World, Montana Women Writers, and other anthologies. Her collection of poetry, Breath in Every Room, won the Nicholas Roerich First Book Award. She is an associate professor of English and director of the Honors Program at Montana State University Billings. She edits Stone’s Throw Magazine.  

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