FIRE: guest poem

“FIRE” by Claire Boskin
a fellow traveler in my writing circle
with family in California
designer, facilitator of issue-focused study groups, all ’round mensch


fire rages
once again
now history making

fire rages
orange, yellow, red sky
black dense smoke
veils the air

eyes witness war zone
hell on steroids
california ablaze

too real

california fires on the sweep

taste on the tongue
knot in the chest
grip in the gut

neighbor’s house

a whole city
razed to rubble

stay reasoned
court calm
decisions to make
actions to take

children to calm
comfort, assure
touch, hug, kiss

Evacuate now
devastation declared

choose, pack
what to take
what to leave

clothes, toys,
papers, photos

dogs, cats
horses to
set free

crisis self
survival self
full grown
let loose

evacuate now
a life stripped down
to fit a car
maybe two

evacuate, escape
a friend’s place
a relative’s place
a strange place
anywhere but this place

california fire in your face

evacuate now
flames hungry,
skip, lick
defy control

engine revved
foot on pedal
seat belts bolted

will i ever see home again
move over world
we live among you

fire rages
california horrific
on a big screen

dedicate to my beloveds,
to all everywhere
who know this
and may again, and again


Thank you Claire, for letting me share this piece. I know it will touch many.

12 thoughts on “FIRE: guest poem

    1. deemallon

      Yes. Claire’s use of repetition and rhyme plus her sensitivity to others really work a bit of magic here.

  1. Nancy

    Thank you both so much for these words. The moment by moment move through an emotional and practical response to the impending flames places me squarely there, able to imagine what so many have lived through. Again, thank you. xo

  2. Jenny M

    oh gosh, how heart wrenching:
    Fitting belongings into a car ~ what to take ~ what to leave?
    Having to set free the horses ~ not knowing if they will survive?
    Home ~ will it survive?
    Escape ~ Where to go? this made me think of being a refugee in one’s own country
    So many unanswered questions.
    Wishing everyone caught up in this disaster all the very best.

  3. Victoria Davis

    I am from CA, we used to worry about the state “falling into the ocean” after the Big One. Then living in the mountains, the Sierras, we worried about fire in the forest with every thunderstorm. It happened once. 7 months pregnant, I woke from my nap, the mountain side above me was on fire. I pulled the laundry off the line, packed the whole basket in the car with the other 2 children. My son had grabbed the photo albums. He was 7. We made it up the road to a safe place. The fire was put out, no harm to any. But the land wasn’t parched….yet. The wind wasn’t blowing.


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