A Warm Wind

by Despy Boutris

rustles the leaves
(that sealike sound) with waves
of heat rising from the asphalt,
the black burning the soles
of your feet (walking barefoot
down the road). A glass jar
in hand, a hand reaching out
toward the grasses, the brambles,
hungry for the taste of summer
(and what tastes more like summer
than blackberries, excluding
the smoke rising from the hills,
the reminder that wherever
there is fire there is something
aflame?). Smoke so close
it strokes your hair (the scent
of inescapable heat). Its taste
at home in throats. And it’s hard
to tell this morning from mourning
(with this heat, these flames,
this smoke, strangling everything).

Despy Boutris is published or forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, The Adroit Journal, Prairie Schooner, Palette Poetry, Third Coast, Raleigh Review, and elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston and serves as Assistant Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast.

Image: Melissa Knopp, photography