It feels too early to be talking about wildfires again. But they’re closer than they used to be, always. And anyway I’m not talking about them — only.*
The poem is A Question of Time, appearing this month in the 2019 Clackamas Literary Review.**
CLR is local to me, produced annually at Clackamas Community College, right across the river in Oregon City, Clackamas County, Oregon, USA. So I’m especially proud to be a small part of this year’s review.
If you’re so inclined, you can buy a copy of this beautiful little book direct from the publisher.*** ($12! Or $15 if you want 2018’s too. Shipping included. It’s a solid deal.)
A Question of Time
Every time he leaves, I hear his death.
This morning while my consciousness nudged his
and they agreed just five more minutes
I imagined the phone call.
And I thought I'd better start now,
kissing him goodbye.
The last one shared
beneath wildfire skies
in this latest hottest summer.
This morning particulate levels
went red again, which is 'stay inside.'
Imagine this seriously.
My city is taking trophies for pollution
and we pray for wind. I conjure his
At afternoon, the long-desired shift.
The scent of rain arriving
is the rattle of my beloved's key
in the lock of the long-parched house.
But he's not returned.
Don't you imagine
that I would rather
Then he's there to kiss my forehead
and my breath restarts. Tomorrow is
September, middle age, 8 billion humans.
I am not burning, today.
But always: the smoke.
*It always feels too early to be talking about grief and anxiety. But this is a nature of life, and love, and the work that we must do.
**Volume XXIII. My lucky number AGAIN.
***Sure, you can also buy from Amazon.