I Stare into the Fire

Andrew Mun-Shimoda


 

For context: I wrote this poem for a contest way back in November, and only heard back if I won now. The reason I didn’t post it when I first wrote it was due to it being an entry in a contest- but now since the contest is over, I think that it’s okay to post. I hope you enjoy.

I Stare into the Fire

I stare into the fire.

As the twilight drifts above my head and the breeze blows the stars into the smoky sky, a musician is playing guitar across from me. His songs push us into a trance, and with each new note, I awkwardly vocalize a corresponding lyric.

And I stare into the fire.

Sitting in a circle, we surround the flickering flame. We sway with the rhythm of the music, all of us in sync like the branches above us moving in the summer wind. We can feel the breeze of the Okanagan on our backs as we lean forward to have our faces illuminated by the light of the fire. I can feel the heat of the flame on my cheeks. My empty can of Coke won’t stand up by itself on the uneven grass- so I balance it carefully on the stone edge of the firepit.

And I stare into the fire.

It’s getting late into the night and I can hear the crickets chirping during the rests in the melody. The moon above us is shining down on our fire-pit and acts like a spotlight on the musician’s tattered sheet music. As he finishes his song, the music slowly fades, mixing into the background noise of the valley.

And I stare into the fire.

I’ll have to say goodbye to these people eventually. We’re traveling the country, and even though our journey is just beginning, I’m already dreading the inevitable day at the airport once we reach the distant east coast. The fire is dying out now, and one by one we’re all heading off to bed. I think goodbye, but I say goodnight. It’s easier that way.