JOHN YOHE

FIRE  LOOKOUT  VILLANELLE

photo by Barbara Michelman

Fire Lookout Villanelle

 

 

On a mountain somewhere on the Boise National Forest

Sitting on the catwalk of my wind- and snow-beaten tower

Mind as always working mad though body relatively at rest

 

On the roof flying ants seem to have made a nest

So I’m hiding in the wind surrounded by red and purple flowers

On a mountain somewhere on the Boise National Forest

 

It’s been a few days since I’ve had any guests

It’s been a hot dry week since I’ve taken a shower

My mind’s still working mad and body mostly always at rest

 

I’m trying to teach myself Latin but I’m failing every test

I scan the hills and valleys with my binos about every hour

On a mountain somewhere on the Boise National Forest

 

I go naked a lot or in shorts and I’m sunburned on my chest

though cloudy today so my solar radio keeps losing power

Mind always working mad though body relatively at rest

 

We got rain clouds and lightning tracking from the west

Towards me and the elk and butterflies and grouse on our

Mountain somewhere on the Boise National Forest

Minds forever working mad and bodies relatively at rest

Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan, and currently lives in Portland, Oregon. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, deckhand/oiler, runner/busboy, bike messenger, wilderness ranger, and fire lookout, as well as a teacher of writing.  A complete list of his publications, with links and samples, can be found at his website: www.johnyohe.com