Mark Thalman - Rain Country, Tillamook Burn - 1933
To say it rains in the Tillamook Forest is like saying the sun shines in the Sahara.
Sometimes locals go crazy from the constant drip only summer can shut off.
Winter days wash your psyche until it is wrinkled as skin that’s been in a bath too long.
Some say living here is torture. Others say they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tillamook Burn - 1933
Jagged as a king’s crown, with a diameter of nearly six feet, the rings of this stump are impossible to count.
A decayed tooth, the middle is hollowed out. Weathered gray as granite, the thick shell has become its own monument.
A dark blaze stretching down one side testifies to where flames seared through bark.
Relic of a fire so hot, ash like snow piled a foot deep, fell on ships hundreds of miles out to sea.
Violent winds created by heat powerful as a hydrogen bomb uprooted giant firs, vaporized streams.
All caused by a logging cable scraping over bark igniting a spark into tinder.
Mark Thalman is the author of The Peasant Dance to be published by Cherry Grove Collections in June of 2020, and Catching the Limit, published by Fairweather Books as part of their Northwest Poetry Series, 2009. His poetry has been widely published for four and a half decades and has appeared in CutBank, Paterson Literary Review, Pedestal Magazine, and Valparaiso Poetry Review, among others. Thalman received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon, and he retired after 35 years from teaching English and Creative Writing in the public schools. Thalman is the editor of poetry.us.com. He lives in Forest Grove, Oregon. Further information can be found at markthalman.com.