“Spreading like wildfire”
becomes literal
when you live here.
As the fire starts
the smoke is light colored,
almost white, mingled
with the palest orange.
As it progresses,
you pray it stays these colors.
Light grey is even fine,
but when it tilts toward black,
your breath catches
in your irritated throat.
Black means it’s burning
hotter, more intensely,
perhaps even
that the first threatened structures
have been engulfed.
Consumed and lost,
preservation out of reach,
in spite of best efforts.


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