The Sky is Falling

When the Old Man fell,
it interrupted all scheduled programming,
including Britney’s tenth birthday party,
where I was one minute

to pin the tail on the donkey,
and the next listening
for the sound
of a pin

like ashes,
ashes from the sky
in Oregon.
Fifteen years later,

children encircle me
as if I were a campfire,
to show and tell
about their favorite hike,
as if it happened yesterday.

I circle around
what happened yesterday:
Climate-Change-Fueled Wildfires
Pollute the Air, Make People Sick.
74 Acres and Counting, Burning.

Above us, the air thickens
until the sky is gone,
and I too cloud over
with emotions.
Pride in place.

to access
My Place,
My Trail,
My Childhood,
as they were

by nature
—the freeze and thaw—
and by choices: 
to leave,

to have adventures,
to participate           
in activities
that exacerbate

It may have occurred
over several years
or in one
dramatic season,
but What difference does it make?

I must stop trying
to see through smoke,
and find answers
to What is really happening?
and instead navigate

with my nose, toward
a little bit of sense, smelling
for what the present
has to offer,
by way of remembrance.

When the Old Man fell,
it fell on our plates,
of pizza and cake.
It stopped Britney’s mom
from slicing,

leaving just enough
for one slice
per child [“No seconds
for anyone.”]
except I,

who took two
slices of pizza,
and two slices of cake, 
because I was afraid.

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