Lightning strikes divide and conquer,
dictator flames gnaw wood, grass, creature.
Heat rises about our feet,
settles in damp halos at neck, head.
By glimmered river, that freedom path,
no one sees or smells smoke. Daylight is happy,
bodies a flourish of good will,
awash in liberties that cling to youth.
Their boats flash hard like diamonds,
bounce and blast with music, laughter.
Can such a water burn, I wonder
and leave, watch a slow fade of horizon
alert for orange distant skies.
I wish to fly into mountains,
call out to all trees that shriek.
Somewhere people are fleeing,
their lives stuffed into small bags,
hands reaching and worn with worry,
voices strangled with grief and ghost snake of smoke.
Once home, my balcony cools. With that, less fear.
I lean toward colossal Doug firs to quell the ache.
Then the crickets start, nature at the podium,
and each one well attuned.
They sing as if nothing better can happen,
this blazing weather on the cusp of a promise of rain.
I must hurry into cool mist and shroud the trees
with it, carry crickets on my shoulders
into billow of sea wind, into wombs of caves,
into crisp and wet of autumn.
Find a baptism of relief, a renewal sprinkled
on this withering, crackled groove of the world,
and in my August heart.