Journalism In Verse


Go Bag

in Environment/Wildfires by

Wandering in the dark there’s the greater darkness
of the chair. Don’t trip. Do you catch a shadow sound
the way sightless people hear the air’s vibration?
In the gold autumn morning, leaves lose their green
at a pace your body remembers. Today the azure sky
shows no sign of falling. Face what you need to know.
Now try to let go of the thoughts. They keep you
from packing your go bag. Sometimes in the heat
you close your eyes. They flip open with every true lie.
More than 6,000 in 649 days. Thank god The Post
keeps track of that man. We are all flying at a speed
beyond thinking. Where am I? your mother asks.
We are all here together without knowing. Her job is
getting up each morning. She knows someone
who will sleep tonight, but not how to get into bed.
I used to know, she says, but not anymore,
forgetting a breath at a time while the evening rain
turns torrential, flooding the yard,
and in California thousands of houses burn.


Heather H. Thomas is the author of Vortex Street (FutureCycle Press, 2018) and three other full-length collections. Her honors include a Rita Dove Poetry Prize. Vortex Street begins from the poet’s Schuylkill River home and spirals across the globe. The collection includes work translated into Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, and Italian. Thomas teaches creative writing at Cedar Crest College and lives in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Photograph by Steve Johnson.

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