Where Does the Smoke Go & Listening to the Sun

Toni La Ree Bennett

Where Does the Smoke Go

where does the smoke of a wildfire go
when the wind moves it

does it go unwillingly
particles massed together
in defiant solidarity

does it at some point
decide it’s every wisp
for itself and float


in all different directions

not gone
but individually so small
as to be effectively invisible

we are complicit in its disappearance
we swallow it, hiding it in our lungs
we let it coat our skin a
nd paddle across the aqueous lakes of our eyes
we become walking ash urns
before our time

but isn’t it just a little flattering
to know that the remnants of a raging fire
have chosen us to inhabit

Listening to the Sun

I wonder, does the sun speak
the same language as the moon.
Does the moon speak at all, being dead?

Does life always have to speak in flames?

As the temperature this day
swirls to canicular intensity,
my finger hovers over a link
to a video in which one can hear the sun speak.

I hesitate for a moment.
If looking at the sun will blind us, what will
listening do?

Is it too terrifying to think there might be
a few who understand the language...
while others might be driven mad
by what the sun has to say?

Some say it sounds like a light saber,
a light bulb, or the chanting of om.
One compares it to the sound of chaos.
I think it sounds like the noises my gut makes
when it’s looking to devour something.

And when there is nothing left to consume—
when this behemoth starts to run out of gas,
will it scream in pain;
as it is dying, will it shriek so loud
there will be no need of scientists to amplify its waves
of gaseous anguish?

And will it weep hot tears to know that no one on earth
will be there to hear?

Toni La Ree Bennett’s verbal and visual work has appeared in Cimarron Review, Caesura, Gold Man Review, Cirque, Gravel, Puerto del Sol, Hawaii Pacific Review, december, with a poetry chapbook, Solar Subjugation, among other publications. She lives with a flock of feisty finches. Photography and writing samples at www.tonibennett.com.

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