Journalism In Verse


The World is Wind, The World is Fire

in Environment/Wildfires by

The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a crack of light between
two eternities of darkness. Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory

I run / into my minus life. Anna Swir, “Woman Unborn”

Tonight, I wait for wind to become fire.
This wind is ocean, crash and clatter of inexorable squall, wind the world over.
I’ve misread live briefing as live briefly.

They’ve purpled the virtual landscape here for the first time.
One spark, and the wind is fire.
And how much time is enough?

Tonight’s impossible to sleep, to dream, the map too arid, the mortal coil too parched.
The heart aches like a furrowed pit without its flesh, the flare miles away, the blaze visible.
My skin feels cowardly as if with fever and also shrewd, too-nerved, all-knowing not what.

Prediction is mathematical fiction and the fact of fire and wind.
And who will be scorched? And when?
There’s no logic between sin and safety, just a crack of flame between two dark eternities.

If we keep up our own undoing, our existence will be extinguished altogether—all together, all of us
together—much sooner than eventually.
The world will be wind. The world will be fire.



California Wildfires: Governor Offers Grim Outlook [CNN]
California Wildfire Rages Toward Scenic Coastal Community [Reuters]
California Statewide Fire Map [Cal Fire]

Anna Leahy is the author of the poetry collections Aperture and Constituents of Matter and the nonfiction book Tumor. Her nonfiction won the top prizes at Ninth Letter and Dogwood in 2016, and she is the co-author of Generation Space and Conversing with Cancer. She directs the MFA in Creative Writing program at Chapman University.

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