In an emergency, a crayon will light for thirty minutes.
In an emergence, rainbow votives held high
refract prisms on walls and in the sky, flying flares
detract from heat-seeking missiles and take the blame.
Grateful for aim and gasping for breath,
thanks to lighthouses and harbingers
we have escaped death and burn with purpose
like a California wildfire fueled by fierce winds,
choosing our victims with a logic only known
by three-hundred-foot tall flames that take
everything in their wake by storm.
Our prayers reside in droplets of rain
hovering over clouds of smoke that move
from here to New Jersey and wind up
on the news, coating everything in fear
and soot, the tears of mothers dripping down
on things we could no longer protect,
dirty black rivulets making their way south.
Enlightened by loss we remove the handles
from toothbrushes to take every last ounce
of weight off our backs, to ease the days
spent on trails that are thousands of miles long;
Somewhere, someone has recorded all this
for posterity, hoping someone will be alive
to grasp these leftover asphalt thoroughfares,
remnants of dams and plastic hills,
miscellaneous bits of things we left behind
in our attempts to run from ourselves—
Unidentifiable trinkets that melted together
to block the natural paths of rivers
until they forgot how to flow to the ocean.
dm freeman is a writer and full-time student of social sciences, communication, and philosophy. She lives with her family at the base of a 14,179 foot tall sleeping volcano. The volcano doesn't frighten her, but climate change does. She reads flash fiction for newfound.org and writes 3am musings at sanguinemeander.com.