Afraid of the Smudge by Jennifer Lagier

We woke, alone,
in the tiny bedroom where
older relatives whispered,
played our bodies like toys.

Beyond these walls,
smoke and fire roiled
from orchard smudge pots,
illuminated bare almond limbs.

Burning diesel spewed soot
between light and dark:
leafless trees, absent parents,
shadowy wraiths.

Chill windows burned
like catechism lectures,
martyrs cooked alive
for unshakeable faith.

Abandoned, we wept,
terrified by hellish flames,
the cauterized end
of our innocent dreams.

jen-author photo
Jennifer Lagier has published ten books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website:


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