A Steller’s jay, its crest by darkness
singed, led the way from oak to oak up
trail to a sequoia filled valley
where shadows slowly gave way to detail.
A creek glistened faintly. Unstilled
by shade, insects droned, birds cawed.
A banana slug shimmered as it
crossed the narrow hillside path.
Everywhere, fire’s char and burn—a long slash
of black scabbed bark, a hollowed out
trunk base, a ring of redwoods sprung from roots
that survived some lightning blasted tree’s
fiery end. No wonder they twist
and writhe as they climb skyward; sway and lunge
into dusk’s waves of mist, the cool,
damp fog intoxicating them so.
Nick Conrad’s poetry has appeared widely in literary journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Blueline, Borderlands, Crab Creek Review, Kansas Quarterly, The Literary Review, Pacific Review, Potomac Review, Seattle Review, Southern Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Texas Literary Review, The Times Literary Supplement, Wisconsin Review, and others.