Poem: Ash

Seattle Times Archive 1980


Written July 4, 2017

I had cut the grass on the Saturday.
Pushed the mower around the lawn.

Followed the cut fringe where I had
already been in circles.

I was nervous about mowing the last outside
foot of the yard along the hedges.

The garden snakes would sleep in along the hedge roots.
They would hear the loud racket of the mower and panic.

Dart out of the hedge to escape the loud noise.

Right into the blade.
I would have to stop the mower then.
I hated when a snake did that.
Hadn’t happened yet this year.
Wasn’t sure when snake season was.
Then that Sunday Mount St. Helens erupted.
In the morning I watched the television.
Saw how the force flattened the mountain’s everything.
Livestock, trees, vehicles painted grey with mud.
Rivers choked solid and still.

I stood out on the lawn for a minute Monday
before setting out for school.

Thick whiteness from Washington State piped in clouds
across the sky from the Olympic Peninsula to Mount Baker.

Thin layer of gray ash dusted across the unraked grass.

by Wendy Stewart

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