Spontaneous Combustion

Spontaneous Combustion

Half-naked above me in autumn
the flowering crab is laden with hard little apples
the bite that I take leaves a bitter taste
in my throat, the birds will ignore them
all winter long until repeated frosts
soften them and
all else is gone

from far away
the not quite sound of her voice
ghosts my ears, colours fade, a familiar scent rises
worn soft with years, wind-dried cotton, the red quilt
she made for my bed, crabapple shades patchworked
red, pink, green, soft brown, off-white
thinned comfort for my questing

my chilled fingers plunge
bare garden hands deep in fresh shards
bright newcut wood chips piled at the roots
of the crabapple tree, touch warmth
unexpected, feel smoulder, find smoke
stinging the air, burning tears
in my eyes

Water, air, matter. Flesh, bone, breath, blood.
How they can ignite. Every conversation with my mother
has fire in its heart.

photo of a pik and green quilt hanging in a tree

Anvil Quilt by Leijsa Squires















Listen to Susan Wismer read “Spontaneous Combustion.”


About Susan Wismer

Susan Wismer (she/her) is grateful to live on Treaty 18 territory at the southern shore of Georgian Bay in Ontario with two human partners and one very large dog. Recent work has been published in Orbis International Literary Journal, Juniper Poetry, the Syracuse Cultural Worker’s Women Artists Agenda 2021, Understorey Magazine and Room Magazine. www.susanwismer.com

About Leijsa Squires

Leijsa Squires is a quilter and quilt pattern designer living in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Inspired by her late grandmother’s quilting, Leijsa began quilting as a hobby to pass the time during the pandemic and quickly fell in love with the craft. Her quilts are made with vibrant, cheerful colours, range from baby-size to bed-size, and are always finished off with big-stitch hand binding. Aside from quilting, Leijsa is a middle-school English and Art teacher, is currently working on her M.Ed. through Mount Saint Vincent University, and is an active volunteer with Girl Guides of Canada. For more information, find her on Instagram: @luckybobbinquilts

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