Grabbing on to the thin cigarette trees
we’d take the steep path down to the creek,
sat on that freckled stone while catching our breath,
we could hear trains in the distance,
you’d imitate them, the whistles, and hisses.
I’d throw my head back in laughter, and wait for an echo.
As a teen, you would imagine the trains arrived
to pick up the lucky, who found their way out.
I asked you if you ever considered
that maybe those trains brought the broken back home as well.
You didn’t understand then.
Today I imagine you, small suitcase, heavy heart,
on the train to inspect what is left of that beautiful, big, old house,
I see you mentally sorting through what remains;
Maybe the smooth rocks, plucked from the creek,
by a child who wanted nothing but to leave,
and today could not possibly come back home.
California is on fire.
the sky is blood orange,
the sky is Big Stick red,
the sky is end of the world blue.
The woman on the news informs me it’s fire season,
and we’ve yet to reach its peak.
I become increasingly annoyed
as she refers to herself as "on the frontlines"
while standing in the parking lot of a Wendy’s,
in heels, and a short dress,
knowing nothing of what you have lost.