The wood we gathered
in the afternoon
tells its story
as it burns: change
from seedling to sapling,
from branch to fuel.
Its theme is falling.
Somehow it becomes
the flames, and the flames
point the way.
I too first came
to this place as a boy.
Same abandoned
look-out tower.
Same patch
of berries, once
again in bloom.
From where I sit
I see
two decades’ growth
has changed the view,
though not so much
you’d notice it
unless you wanted to.
To my son
it is all very new,
this night out
in the wilderness,
this mountain reverence.
I want to look
until he sees
me sitting where he sits
in the same fiery light.

Chris Ellery is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Elder Tree (Lamar University Literary Press, 2016), and co-translator (with Asmahan Sallah) of Whatever Happened to Antara (University of Texas Press, 2004), a collection of short stories by the award-winning Syrian author Walid Ikhlassi. He has received the X.J. Kennedy Award for Creative Nonfiction, the Alexander and Dora Raynes Poetry Prize, and the Betsy Colquitt Award. Ellery was a Fulbright professor in American literature at the University of Aleppo, Syria, 1999-2000. He is a member of the Texas Association of Creative Writing Teachers and the Texas Institute of Letters.