Those were the fire years.
Fires first in the mountains.
Lightning strikes in the distance
glowing, red orange sunrises and sunsets.
Fires down in the valleys,
whole mountains disappearing
behind smoky clouds.
Fires we thought we understood.
But then came the flames in little towns
on blue sky days. Spontaneous ignition
on leafy suburban streets,
on city sidewalks, on park benches.
on football fields. Fires around dinner
tables, in diners, on buses,
in classrooms and courtrooms.
Fires everywhere burning everything
we knew and loved to ash. We dug later
through the remains looking for clues.
We found anger, buried alive.
Brooke Herter James is a writer of poetry and children’s picture books. She lives on a small hillside in Vermont with her husband, one dog, one donkey and four chickens.
Image by Morgan Sessions.