To assess a fire, define mortality

for the forest’s basal area, the area

in square feet at the cross-section at breast

height of a single tree. See the tangerine


walls bleeding around the mirror where

my sister and I compare our teenage breasts,

perplexed by these new signs of likeness

and difference—the blue-green veins and dusty-


pink nipples, the size, the shape, the weight of fat

hanging over the ribcage, each breast its own

iteration of earth’s atomic speech. O see


the women directed to stand beside the pines,

their breasts pendulous as plastic bags or firm

as rubber, breasts pointing to every star


on the compass, breasts purple, pitch, or parakeet

green, chests zipped shut with scars, with heavy dashes

where breasts once “O”ed the world open, ballooned

with milk or held in the mouth of love, breasts off-


centered, oblong, amorphic, breasts like two

barely raised dots read by moving the hand

across a page, breasts with faces bent or raised

like nuns toward the unseen, breasts like


snippers, their gaze level, each nipple an eye,

a scope through which the body aims. See

the foresters mark where the tissue meets


the rash-red bark, see the machine calculate

the meeting and print basal, blazon,

a blaze on the USDA report page.