image: Big Basin Fire © ABC7 San Francisco
Ashes flutter like moths on a building
inner layers protected by bark
rows of redwoods like witches hats
hoses cannot douse crisp written flames
sparrows rise to become black specks
waterfall stuffed with logs like a coffin.
Once shattering black rocks now a coffin
the waterfall with ashes swiftly building
a temporary death, a room of specks
humans who remain, skin stripped bark
camped, hiked, spoken in flames
all that remains, boots and hats.
Firehoses can’t enter this room of hats
entire ridge to ocean now flies in a coffin
park founded by a league now in flames
built foundation’s permanent wood building
not iron, not lead, just the song of a lark
first in California, first in its stead.
Tail feathers, red rump, eye circles, and specks
even the towhee doesn’t wear a little hat
no douse of seeds will save its art
can’t move, can’t offer a single note
ridges of brown and tan a secret murmur
rows uprooted, a vernacular in flames.
Upper crowns of marbled murlettes
canopy umbrella a wardrobe in flames
ashes fumigate the trunk’s knife building
turning moss and lace directly into matts
most likely victims rotating into orphans
no squirrels or crows remain to bark.
Scars and old burns now embark
on a vessel off pier tamed and maimed
no warehouse rickety, in a false coffin
moths fairies with winged ashes
a mirror of perfume, but what really matters
thousands of years destroyed in an instant.
Time to bury the coffin, specks included
bark imparted within honest flames
deep hats and buildings put to rest.