The rain in the woods where the fire erupted
months ago is abundance too soon, or too late,
the blaze causing harm long after.
The promise is fulfilled,
but not mercifully, the watercourses
deepening underfoot, charcoal and slurry and soil.
The water has no color. It is the empty place
before the first word. When the downpour stops
the body balances, stone by stone.
Whatever the deer want
it is not here in the blanched eucalyptus,
the carbon dirt. There is fire,
and the other fire, a season of bad silence.
But each dawn is the first morning,
the names of the animals
before the animals themselves,
and then afterward the first afternoon,
a surprise, the stubborn
new grass among the ash leaves.