Wildfire Close to Home

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“The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another. “ Thomas Merton

Night streaks the afternoon sky.

Smoke pours through trees
riots through suburban streets,
flames snarl, snap in the meadow,
the red beast
just beyond the fence.

I feel its glare
as wild heat brushes my brow.

Crossing arms, I walk
quickly, first to the corner,
then to the threatened house,
where my young neighbor
clutches her baby
and wonders
when will it be time to flee,
leave home,
abandon furniture, new carpets, tv
dreams,
safety.

We watch and wait
for the calm firemen
to arrest this marauder
cool its rage
restore to ordered life
this blue July day.

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