A message on my cell phone, from Indiana, Sister Pat

asking about the fire, how close, it was hard to tell she said

but she saw Kathy and the horses on TV. I call her back

to say she had the number wrong and should try again.

But the place was right. Here, the place of fire.

It’s still burning in the hills, I tell her

winnowing the canyons like a famished thing.

We live with fire on this coastal shelf, flames and wind,

the stoking breath. Evacuation plans are drawn

prioritized by dearness, pets and photos first.

Windows closed against the sleet of ash touching

down like innocent feathers. The sky bronzes and

high in our nostrils is the firepit char of extinction.

It’s far from contained, I tell the Sister listening

in Indiana. God bless you, she says.


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