We walk around in masks, our mouths obscured, the cityscape soft and confused by smoke. Entire conversations happen without seeing a lip move. This is nothing, really, but the environmental aftershock of tragedy up north. We breathe in the remains, take death into our lungs. Trees, people, animals, houses, reduced to this clinging haze.
My brain ping-pongs between faded associations. Fire=my grandfather. November=loss. Anyone between the ages of 7 and 33 could be a child of mine and yet still parts of me lay unclaimed in childhood. I sacrifice myself to the smaller cause (a seeded pomegranate; in a moment, dinner— both interrupting the flow, just when the flow started; other times it’s laundry or an idle comment that requires my attention. Who, dear Reader, is paying attention to my needs? It has to be me, which is not in my nature.).
Do you require a narrative? Do I owe you that? I do not have it in me. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Even green wood can burn. Metal pools and hardens, bone becomes ash, if the fire is hot enough. But there is nothing to see here but a mask that catches my words before they reach the open air.