This is how life can turn,
on ghosts of smoke, spin of air
and flare of yellow as
clouds grab and release
the weighted, bilious sky.
My toes seek the rarified wetness;
my breath does not halt and drag.
This thundering morning
is not (for me) like the other eleven
as firestorms snagged and exploded
not so far from this locked, taped door.
Long hours have been disappeared into jaws of flame,
bound by smoke, thief and master.
Who believed that time could be erased
by a manic advance of fire that roared,
massacred like hordes unleashed?
There are too many who dread the final report.
But here, now, I unlatch, open my door a crack,
lift my nose to sniff a slick of breeze,
push outward inch by inch into open air,
step into the diffident moment and
an exhausted, mourning earth,
a world that still spins within loss.
I cannot believe any promise of full healing.
Every step now feels like a lingering cry,
a call to wilderness whose great heart blackens.
Still, now, these feet of flesh and rain
hold fast to the primal dirt,
my face lifting to a startle of sunlight.