Tina Blade: “Smoke from the Fires”



It could be a snow sky,
so flat and grey, reaching all
the way from here to the horizon.
The sky so close and full of promise:
snow stars on the tongue,
snow diamonds in the hair, snow sequins
dazzling the streetlamps. When it falls
all things are new, as if brushed
by a clean, white wing.
But this is not that.
Mid-August, 90 degrees, and the dead air
full of smoke and ash, not angels.
A plume has drifted north from fires
in Oregon and California,
bringing all that is left of every-
thing those fires have consumed—
forests, grasses, places
where people and animals lived.
No wonder
it burns bitter
at the back of the throat.
It leaves us with the taste
of sorrow and trash,
fills the valley with quiet,
and makes the ridge
across the river
a hulking ghost.



A Pushcart Prize nominee, Tina Blade currently lives in Duvall, Washington, just east of Seattle in the Snoqualmie River Valley. Her work has appeared or is upcoming in Apple Valley Review, The Moth, Bracken, Sweet Tree Review, Pontoon Poetry, Calyx, Mid-American Review and elsewhere. She is currently working on her chapbook, Broken Blue Egg.