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I have seen a forest fire
             spread out and call
             itself home

I know
how it feels to watch
a fertile river valley

What does the river call the torched embers?
At what point does it contemplate mortality?

I have dragged a firebreak
             across the soil
             a final prayer

I’ve heard
the deathly echo of
“for all to live, some will

What do the trees cry out for as they are consumed in flame?
Does it hurt, waiting for the rain to come?

I have stood atop scarred earth
             the broken bones
             the ashen air

I too have felt
the despair of the unknown

How long does it take for the first bud to bloom again?
Can anything still call this home?

And I have stood again in lushness
             bold rebirth
             inextinguishable life
But beneath
 the dappled sunlight
I’ve heard it in still

What if the flames return?
What if the flames return?