Berkeley Fire

by janeeatonhamilton

Here is a poem from my second collection, Steam-Cleaning Love:

Berkely Fire

for Corbin

 

I know you are reading this poem

I said to Liz I want to understand the trees

I was speaking of eucalyptus in particular

When I met you I said Hello

You said Maybe it will sound ridiculous

but I pray for rain every day here

 

On the television I saw a woman

shaking hard

I watched her forearms

how she tried to hold herself together

by pressing her elbows on her knees

her face in her hands

Everything else was a still photograph

the still hush of smoke

 

You are reading this poem

You are rolling a cigarette, or Sharon is

putting flame against your lips

I meant to ask the names of what grows

I said The vegetation is so different

You said I love thunderstorms

 

Once I passed a burning house

I was safe but I was scared anyway

I didn’t understand

how loud, how hot, how big

Later a woman interviewed

standing in the rubble said

It’s like being dead then coming back

I’m scared now, I said

You are reading this poem in Berkeley

You said Is it raining?

 

You can order Steam-Cleaning Love through Brick Books here.