World on Fire

Day is blood-orange red
because fire possesses everything now,

because fire says, enough.
Rain is lost over the ocean.

Jump, says dolphin,
water and rocks will catch you. Believe me.

Air swirls into shadows.
The dead roil and spark.

Leap, says seal, fish want to play.
They’ll let you eat them. Believe me.

Hurry, says shark. You must be hungry.
This is the best escape plan. Believe me.

You burn first, says oak.
We’re all ash anyway, believe me.

Why burn, says owl, why not fly?
Too late, crow cries. Too late.

Burrow, says rabbit.
Here, here, says groundhog.

You can’t dig deeply enough, says fire.
My fingers are infinite.

Touch me, says cinder. Hold me.
I will grab you by hair and skin, says fire.

Deer stops running to look at you.
It says nothing.

You breathe and vomit smoke.
You run.



Click here to read Pat Hanahoe-Dosch on the origin of the poem.

Image: “As a fire burns a forest” by Crusty da Klown, licensed under CC 2.0.

Patricia Hanahoe-Dosch:
This poem was a response to the really bad fires in California a few years ago, and Trump’s response/nonresponse to the fires and climate change. Unfortunately, more and more terrible fires are burning all over the world now thanks to climate change, and we still aren’t doing much about it.

Pat Hanahoe-Dosch
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