Saturday, August 22, 2015

Smoke

I'm afraid. Portland is a good hundred miles from the nearest fire, but the smell of woodsmoke is making my backbrain churn with alarm. Forests burning. Run.

half moon eclipse red
Fenris rises open-jawed
in a smoke-stained sky

In June, July, and early August, I wrote three poems in a row about burning. Too much sun at the Waterfront Blues festival? Maybe. But I knew, we all knew, this was coming. You only had to look around: by the end of June, lawns and shrubbery in my neighborhood were August-dry, and the Cascade forests were just waiting for a spark. I can't picture what it's like further east.

EXTREME FIRE DANGER
DO NOT THROW BURNING MATTER
FIRE-FIGHTERS WILL DIE

is the highway sign I wish I'd seen. Haiku may be too much to expect from ODOT.

praying on my knees
All-Merciful God, send us rain
smoke tears fill my eyes

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

1 comment:

Carmi Levy said...

I'm always amazed and saddened at the apparent disconnect between individual behavior and group consequences. Every time I'm out in my car or on my bike, I see motorists around me toss their still-burning cigarette butts out the window. I get so angry and wish I could scoop them up and throw them right back where they come from.

Humans disappoint me more often than not. Something's got to give.