Friday, November 16, 2018

Daphne in Paradise

I prayed as I fled the god’s burning embrace
save me, change me, whatever it takes.
The soles of my blistered feet went hard
and shiny, left cloven tracks in the falling ash.

New strength in my slender legs    I bounded
faster and farther through the smoke    to the river
to safety    my ears cupped forward ignoring
behind me the screams and the roar of fire

the god passed
and I walk in his traces
staring at strangeness

Nothing recognizable but the streets
still gridding the ashen landscape
cozy cul-de-sacs flanked by concrete pads
some squatted by burned-out hulks of cars.

all form is destroyed

Nothing left that looks like a house
since the fire came over the hilltop
taller than power lines, loud as a freight train,
tornado-force, throwing pickup trucks like toys.

memory fades

Nothing could stop it. Superheated air exploded.
Families fled on gridlocked streets
or got out of their cars and ran for the river.
Smoke filled the valleys for hundreds of miles.

somewhere here was a home
never again to be mine

Image credit: Noah Berger, AP

Available! High-Voltage Lines, Knocking from Inside

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