Poetry & Other Writing

Ashes, Ashes

Ashes, Ashes

Paradise is raining ash.
Skies fill with blistered amber,
lives upon lives swept up,
flowing down California’s
keening body, headed for the sea.

Masked, we cough and grieve—
our bodies do not want
the weight of lives combusted,
our bodies can not hold
this reeking burden, charred.

Place and its people, forest
and its animals. Memories
drift in shock. Stumbling. Riven.
Here stands apocalypse—
Paradise is lost.

I wrote this during the Paradise, California fire, aka “The Camp Fire.” It was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history to date. It was also the deadliest wildfire in the United States since the Cloquet fire in 1918, and is high on the list of the world’s deadliest wildfires; it was the sixth-deadliest U.S. wildfire overall.