Gifts of Combustion

At daybreak, mid-September, walking,
He caught the first sight of his breath,
Vapor dissipating upward, facing
Glowing coals of a smoldering horizon,
Eastern Star departing from sight.

So much was out of sight! All summer
He'd respired unconsciously: In
And out, in and out, in....
Now, to an ancient giant rock
Maple rising up before him on a hill

Sunrise back-lighted, he expired
His gift: carbon, building trees.
Their gifts -- of oxygen -- he inspired
Heating blood, passionate, glowing
Red, combustible as pitch in a pine.

Lee Jamieson

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