it is terrifyingly humbling to drown in smoke
witness chimneys made of old growth
watch mushroom clouds rise from the canopies
warm our bodies at mountain range hearths
wade through plumes of smouldering incense
you can watch it all from our front stoop
or the passenger seat of our beat up butch toyota
see the sun set neon clementine between the western ranges
watch the gleaming blood moon rise from the eastern cedars
tears are chased burning from our vision
while breath clings hidden deep in the roots of our lungs
begging for lungwort. usnea. cabbage and cottonwood.
every living thing is bent in prayer for rain
i can’t help but wonder, is this our life now?
will we ever see the river from this perch again?
will smoke masks keep arriving in the mail?
is this what breathing has become?
as the smoke clears we bathe in the sweet milk of relief
relief that our home still stands, surrounded by sprinklers
relief that we have last minute refuge in every direction
we didn’t pack our goats and chickens and memories
into a pick up truck and drive in any direction where the road is still open
relief that the the rain has washed away the ash from our windshields
relief knowing that “burnt to the ground” happened across a different highway
relief in the sweet sunbeam of temporary blue sky reprieve
we are dancing cautiously with a fleet footed fever
our backs turned, we’re whispering about her
bouquets of yarrow in our hands
we are praying at a hearth brought to our feet
an altar built of our desire for convenience
we are being smudged clean by lessons we neglected
ancient wisdom we turned away from, called primitive
our path is a trail of spilt blood and gunpowder across the forest floor
we are walking blindfolded, into the end of days
our hearts yearning to be cleansed
palms open, waiting to be kissed by lightning
if you appreciated this poem you might like my poetry chapbook 13 months feral. you can order a pay-what-you-can digital copy of my chapbook here.