Remember the drought, dry grasses and winds?
Our wildfire moon was red
—everything else was black char, ash-fog, so thick we couldn’t breathe
There seemed no escape but death

Fire blocked our roads
Stay-put-and-find-shelter fireman filled our minds with dread
Our very souls grew heavy with smoke

If we were to die by fire, we prayed it would take us quickly
We didn’t want to end up news stories on someone’s flickering TV
—coverage all night
—news bites all morning
Or on the cover of LIFE atop a coffee table across the globe
Where we imagined there was rain
Where there were no fires
Where we could press our blistered bodies against rain-soaked houses
And feel alive again.

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