Featured in Vol.4 Issue 1 | The Spring 2015 Edition

Soft Fascination
by Jeff DeBellis

I built a perfect teepee
with dry juniper twigs
filled its interior with bits
of paper and lit it with
a cardboard match.

The flame steadily climbed
unil the entire teepee was ablaze
and the constellations sighed,
as though they were relieved
that they no longer bore the responsibility
of lighting the world alone.

In Siberia, the shamans burn juniper
to cleanse homes of unwanted spirits.
We were simply cold
and our sleeping bags
were not made for desert winters.

With a mangled branch of manzanita
you poked at the chalky embers, flames,
dancing, in the whites of your eyes.

Living happens on its own here.
Schist. Cholla. A dusty patch
of unclaimed earth
where our sleeping bags lay.

In the morning we’ll fill
the pot, black and dented,
and make coffee on the coals.

We’ll pack our things and walk
toward Mexico, and a summit we’ve never seen.


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