One Poem by Judith Harris

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Burnings in October Light

All morning, the smell
of dry peat and tinder burning
in the woods behind my house,

where I see a few men
in bright flannel shirts
cutting down limbs from the oaks
to set them ablaze,

then retreating from the smoke
and covering their faces
as they head back to the truck

parked on a side of the road.
It’s fall, a season fluent in loss—
leaves wafting like words in the wind,

words I would speak if I only had
the words to speak them.




Judith HarrisJudith Harris is the author of Atonement and The Bad Secret (LSU Press), Night Garden (Tiger Bark Press), and Signifying Pain: Constructing and Healing the Self Through Writing (SUNY Press). Her poems have been published in The Nation, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Slate, The Hudson Review, Southern Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, the syndicated newspaper column American Life in Poetry, and Poem-a-Day with the Academy of American Poets. Her recent articles on poetry have appeared in AWP’s The Chronicle, Midwest Quarterly, Green Mountains Review, and the Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis. She is currently working on a new book of criticism, The Poetry of Loss: Romantic and Contemporary Elegies, to be published by Routledge in the coming year.

Read two poems by Judith Harris previously appearing in

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