Shelter in Place Poem, Day 7, and fire poem study

Note: this piece is part of my long shelter in place poem as well as a “study” of fire for a piece I will write for an upcoming exhibition of the work of the artist Anna Kaye: check out her work here.


Perhaps it is time to burn



Two thousand miles away

my mother is burning the forest,

particularly its scraps and detritus.


Smoke follows beauty.


It’s wildfire season.


The burning of trash and debris

in one’s yard in a pit

seems particularly Southern,

or at least Eastern. Here in the West

such an act would cause disaster.

Back home it was merely a minor

social event, something to stand around

and stare at.




When four years ago

I got rid of all my old journals,

all the way back to ones I had in college,

I wanted to burn them

but I had nowhere to do it,

no fireplace, no wide expanse,

so I threw them in the dumpster.


Does beauty follow smoke?




Light a candle and imagine

you are burning what

you no longer need. Offer it up

to the lone flame. There is

plenty of time.




My grandfather, the smoker.

My grandmother, flinging suitcases into the bonfire.


Flames, nature’s masterpiece,

the original work of art.

You cannot look away

from a fire for long.


Whatever it is you’re burning,

name it.


Fire on the mountain, lake of fire.

Strands of smoke

like snakes being charmed.


Wet your fingertip with spit,

dip it into ash,

touch your forehead.


Brace yourself. It’s fire season.



1 Comment

  1. Juliana Lyon says:

    Thank you Kim


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