Thank you to Split This Rock for sharing “Fires on Highway 192” in their Poem of the Week feature.
Split This Rock is hosting contributors from The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. If you live near DC, be sure to catch us reading at Sunday Kind of Love this Sunday July 20 from 5-7pm at Busboys & Poets 14th & V St. location. Kim Roberts, Yvette Neisser Moreno, and Rachel Malis will also be reading.
Fires on Highway 192
by Deborah Ager
After Neruda’s “Disasters”
In Florida, it was raining ash because the fire
demanded it. I had to point my car landward
and hope the smoke would part, but it was a grey sea
absorbing my body. Cabbage Palms were annihilated.
Even the Indian River steamed. Black stalks stank.
The condominiums spit smoke into twilight.
Still, a cattle egret landed, preening, in a pasture
filled with embers – the cattle dead or removed.
And I was hungry; there was nothing to eat.
And I was thirsty and raised the river to my mouth.
And I was alone, and there was only that one egret
searching for a cow. The wind was a whisper on my tongue.
Ash on ash. Slumber shallow. I was a frown
in an unfamiliar city after sundown. Vultures circled
like assassins. I made a bed out of the road. I made a pillow
of misery and slept and had no story I wanted to confess.
From The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry (Bloomsbury, 2013)