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Sep 19
The earth is black
on both sides.
The yellow bus
taking the living away
passes pile after pile
of rubble, of signs that
were once there:
the Harley Davidson store,
The Rogue Action Center-
a nonprofit climate change group,
the community bank -
it’s vault the only thing standing.
Indistinguishable from the ash
is the mobile home park,
which once housed the migrants
that harvested the town’s fabled pears.
Only their metal survived the wildfires:
aluminum lawn chairs, a barbecue pit,
hubcaps of cars long since evacuated.
Among the stranded survivors
is the aged widower searching
impossibly for his wife’s ashes.
He had escaped and settled
here after the Paradise fires took
his previous home two years back.
Crows on charred oaks branches
watched and mock his effort.
He looked all around him
and wondered to God
if he had paid
enough grief dues.
When the bus stopped for him
he did not get on.
Written by
Jonathan Moya  63/M/Chattanooga, TN
(63/M/Chattanooga, TN)   
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