Memory of My Mother, Burning Trash, Daniel Smith, [2023:41]

From the farmhouse, she crossed
the yard, head down,
bound for the burn barrel.

She carried odds and ends,
the week’s newspapers,
old food wrappers.

From afar, I watched her
strike the match.
I saw smoke rise.

She stood staring
far off toward something
only she could see.

I should have gone to her
but what does a child know
about the weight of a life?

I stayed my distance, frightened
of the fire, well clear of the smoke.

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