Tsuniah Lake, August 2014 by Barbara Black

Dogs pant on the porch,
know the month by its smell.
A seamless morning, mournful
in the height of summer.

Clouds like steam,
a broken sprinkler, drought.
Dusty road smells of a rainless past.

Everyone’s out fishing
with unbarbed hooks.
A forest fire burns
a hundred miles north.

I taste its ash in my mouth.

The land moves.
An epiphany is close. As if
at any moment it might
rain rabbits.

Wasps swarm the fish gutting bench.

I remember the smell
of my mother’s hot iron.

What is the lesser crime?
Remembering wrong
or forgetting?



Barbara Black was a 2015 Canadian Authors Association Vancouver Short Story Contest finalist, and semi-finalist for a Disquiet International Literature scholarship in Lisbon. Her poetry has appeared in Contemporary Verse 2, FreeFall, and Poems from Planet Earth. Other publications include non-fiction in Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas, award-winning non-fiction in Island Writer, and fiction in The New Quarterly. Upcoming publications include short fiction in the Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal. She lives in Victoria, BC.