Two Poems

​Salamanders: Fire Season

One flame in July, the progression: viral. Images of firefighters
flash over the screen, pilots

scatter retardant: red clouds bursting from the bellies of planes. 
Pieces of the inferno go dark, briefly: 

but things are opened in flames: but things are opened in flames: 
seed pods, the trunks of trees… meadows. meadows.

The clouds at night: canvas for the shadow play of moths. 
It’s this negative space (of planes between clouds and flames) 

that could always be our own story, told in hotspots and wings. 
For most people it’s an analgesic. The neighbor’s short-sell, our celebrity diets, 

who got the call-up to the majors, conversations of hospice: 
They do long term sickness now, not just the dying, Aurora, Colorado:

to each his own shadows 
play on the clouds above flames.

You see? It’s a holy dissolution, that’s why it’s so enthralling.
Maybe fire is summer’s summer’s natural hunger.

Maybe the city feeds on the season’s need for self-immolation. 
Maybe skyscrapers are conduits, derricks over the desire for flame 

and drawn up, past asphalt and sewers, it ​pours out,
to settle like ash, like blue-veined bats

that grow as they descend, then fan their wings 
and walk like humans on the street…  

What’s true, What’s true, whether the devastation wrought
is natural, or induced, doesn’t matter.

I sketch a world and people
co-translated with Sarit Siribud from the Thai of Zakariya Amataya

First I drew the world 
—but I felt the world would get lonely. 
So next I drew the moon 
and penciled in the stars; 
this way night would be beautiful, 
and not too scary. 

I drew one human first 
—but I was afraid the human would get lonely, 
so I drew another human. 

The world I drew was too wide 
—so I drew many more humans. 
I drew them until they bristled from the world I drew. 

When I began to think of erasing the extra people, 
I found them well armed. 
They fought, killed and maimed one and other. 
First, they used stone axes to smash each other’s skulls
—then, swords, bolts and bows 
—then there was gunpowder, cannons and bombs. Recently it’s been said they developed
nuclear capabilities, and biological weapons 
to demonstrate their power to each other. 

—But I didn’t draw these things. 

CUTTER STREEBY holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of East Anglia in England and a Master's in Literature from King's College, London. His translations and poems have appeared widely: Cincinnati Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, and etc. He's into poetry both original and translated, and founded
The Adirondack Review