poem from last midnight

it sounds like a bees’ nest at my ceiling
but when i sit when i put my head out the window
it’s water, a neighbor’s shower going; i go back to bed
it’s bees again, some fantasy of wood and angles and bent sound
but in the end it’s water
a shower it stops.

there’s a bird with a call like a gas stove
tick tick ticking but never catching.
(mine is electric; i am safe)

sirens at night, down my street which becomes a highway one mile west
one after another sometimes
fire fire fire : engine engine engine
i have been trained to fear fire

i have lived against brown hills
where my siblings and I filled green bins to keep fire hazards down.
we’ve been ushered downward, away from home
to the other sides of barricades
brief evacuations.

we’ve had fire hoses rot in our yard
forgotten when the city came to douse the hills
first made pale from yellow, then sun cracked
disintegration, finally, like a snakeskin.
san diego got it after us.  colorado, it seems always.
oregon, last year.

in 2009 i was in alaska it was 90 degrees and it was burning
its heartland smelled like smoke
alaskans found the temperature inconceivable and to us?
like we’d never left home.

bees die, birds mimic, and water, someday, stops;
fire follows.


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