Sharon Dornberg-Lee’s “On Burning” is our 24th installment, and a perfect vehicle for welcoming the heady spells and sultry journeys of summer.  


On Burning

I am filled with twilight desires,
for nicotine, and weed,
and sex with soulful strangers.

My mother warned that escalators
were like teeth waiting to chomp
your untied laces,

mailbox mouths couldn’t be trusted
to deposit your letters on a single
swing of their lazy jaws.

I am tired of caution, playing
the sentry, waiting
for the light to change.

So I drive with the windows rolled
all the way down, stereo too loud,
air conditioner cranked on high.

I drive down unfamiliar streets, allow
myself at least to smoke, watch it billow,
the night air, taking whatever it wants.


Sharon Dornberg-Lee’s poetry has appeared in Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, the anthology Mamas and Papas, Literary Momma; Earth’s Daughters, and the anthology, Rust Belt Chicago. Her essay, “Cold Turkey on Big Bird,” was featured on the Chicago Public Radio program 848. She was featured on WBEZ’s Dynamic Range. A geriatric social worker, Sharon is a clinical supervisor at CJE SeniorLife and has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration (SSA). She currently teaches in SSA’s Professional Development Program. She lives in Chicago with her husband and daughter, Sophie.