Spontaneous Combustion by Susan Wismer

Poet name: Susan Wismer Poem name: Spontaneous Combustion Poem: Half-naked above me in autumn the flowering crab is laden with hard little apples— the bite that I take leaves a small bitter taste  in my throat. Birds will ignore them all winter long until repeated  frosts soften them, all else is gone.  From far away the not quite sound of her voice  ghosts my ears, colours fade, a familiar scent rises worn soft with years, wind-dried cotton, the red quilt she made for my bed, crabapple shades patchworked  red, pink, green, soft brown, off-white thinned comfort for my questing.  My chilled fingers plunge bare garden hands deep in fresh shards bright newcut wood chips piled at the roots  of the crabapple tree, touch warmth  unexpected, feel smoulder, find smoke  stinging the air, burning  tears in my eyes.  Water, air, matter. Flesh, bone, breath, blood. How they can ignite. Every conversation with my mother  has fire in its heart.  End of poem.  Credits and bio:  Copyright © Susan Wismer Previously published in Understorey Magazine, 21, 2021 Susan Wismer (she/her) is grateful to live on Treaty 18 territory at the southern shore of Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada with two human partners and a very large dog. Recent work has been published in Prairie Fire, The New Quarterly, Understorey Magazine, Orbis International Literary Journal, and in Poets in Response to Peril (eds. Penn Kemp, Richard Sitoski). www.susanwismer.com