Ralph Macioci

Distant Bonfire

 

Tonight I'm not far from Columbus where 

landscape becomes pastoral, and acres of corn 

stubble tell the story of an earlier crop. 

 

I park on the side of a rural road, step outside.

The moon, carved with the face of a man 

 over forty, hangs white in the sky.

 

A rail fence outlines a field that swallows 

moonlight.  Hundreds of feet across the field, 

a farmhouse fits snug in the night.  Orange 

flames from a bonfire, night's lantern,

flare upward, throw elongated shadows 

against the house. 

 

Several people linger near the fire, faces 

distorted Halloween masks. Someone stirs 

burning logs.  Flames and sparks soar

upward, dazzle the dark. 

 

I'm tempted to cross the field, join the group. 

On such a cold, October night, 

they would welcome a stranger 

who has stumbled upon their hospitality, 

but maybe not. 

 

I climb back into my car, leave the bonfire 

for someone else to find, feeling fortunate 

to have had even a glimpse of its beneficent light.

tiffany jolowicz Monday on Michigan Island, Yesterday, the Day Before, Two Thousand Years