Water In The Coals

Water In The Coals Superior National Forest in Northern Minnesota

Water In The Coals

By Gary Bloom

After I got married, my wife and I would drive up from Minneapolis and camp in the Superior National Forest in Northern Minnesota, often at the same campsites where I went when I was a kid. This poem was inspired by a camping trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Superior National Forest. We continued to go camping there until we moved to New Orleans in 1983. 

We look to the woods for our privacy and answers.
All thoughts are burned in the evening fire, and
the bacon grease we wash away beneath
the rusted pump, turning to hard
white ivory in the water,
suddenly ignites in the pan,
leaving no decisions to be made.
We eat our bacon in the dark,
quiet except for a few waves
and the fire gasping for
breath between buckets of water
and then we move
silently beneath the thick patched cloth
the musty canvas smell
the wood smoke in our hair
surrounds us without a sound
but a few waves
and water steaming in the coals.


Gary Bloom has published articles, poetry, photography, and fiction in numerous print and online magazines, including Breath and Shadow, American Visions, Milwaukee Magazine, The Buffalo News, The Grand Rapids Press, Grit, Cappers, Oasis, Mankato Poetry Review, Players, and Black Diaspora.  He grew up in Minneapolis and has Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Mankato (Minnesota) State University. After working for many years as a computer programmer and database administrator he now lives and writes in Pass Christian, Mississippi. This poem appeared in Oasis in 1993.

Featured image courtesy the author.

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