To anyone whose land is burning

by Layla Welborn

There’s no comfort I’m offering
Just that there will be more becoming

It will burn
More—or less hot
You will compare this hill to that, when it’s done
Marvel at which green thing made it
Ponder what happened to the animals
And, because you don’t find their bones, you’ll cheer for their imagined escape

You will finger every remaining piece
Surprised by what’s whole and what’s not—
like perfect tea cups and melted car parts

Ash, first fallen, looks like snow
You might rub your body with the molecules of your old things
Your lungs surely will burn with the smoke of them
It will be years before you’ve recounted all the things gone
And these things will begin to fertilize the ground

Behind your ribs, your home is there—all the dimensions and perfect light in tact
Outwardly, the center point leveled, home is in the wider circles now

The wind will reach you quick and strong, undeterred by any branch
You will notice the shape of the ground itself, un-obscured by anything
The wider horizon will pull on your breath

Then the earth will sprout and thicken around the base of the tree-trunks-turned-to-coal-spires—like a child turned her picture of the forest upside down, the tips of the old trees rooted in the sky

The stories will start to change
You will turn and seed the burned dirt; it will push up poppies
And you might cherish how the old tin roof—scavenged to begin with, and now again—is showing its rust behind the woodstove of the new cabin

Note: My friend Layla wrote this poem and sent it to me. I loved it and asked her if I could post it on my blog for anyone to find and read and treasure. Thanks, Layla.