The fire rages.
The animals flee
And we sit in our cars
And press our feet to the gas
Sometimes I tell the children to play a game
And imagine that the animals are running from us
Like prey once ran from hunters.
But they know, as I do, that the real apex predator
Is behind us
Devouring the trees
Conquering the roads
Ready to swallow us whole
Within the burning inferno.
This Chrysalis of Fire
I wait for an auspicious day, just as you once did.
I go to gather the best wood, just as you once did.
I build your pyre with my hands
Just as you once built my crib.
I watch the flames transform your flesh and bone
Into ash and smoke.
And I wonder if your soul and spirit transform as well
Into something I cannot see
But can carry within me.
A fire inside my heart to guide me
Just as you once did.
but I have no answer
The dog digs.
Snow flies up under its paws
Like a blizzard blanketing our windows.
The rescuers dig
Heaving away with shovels and bare hands
Like the squirrels making holes in my garden.
I clutch my daughter close
And tell her
It’s just like the game.
Her father is buried under three feet of snow
And the minutes
Are ticking by.
I hug my daughter tightly
And tell her
It’s just like hide and seek.
The boom of the avalanche
Is just like when her father and I shout
“Ready or not, here I come!”
The dogs and the rescuers
Are just like when her father and I
Turn the house upside down to find her.
I kiss my daughter
And we watch the snow pile up around
The dogs and the rescuers.
The two of us wait
For the game to end
And for our life
As a family of three
My daughter asks
When the game will be over.
But I have no answer
Regina Jade is an Asian American writer and poet. She loves chocolate, custard tarts, and cats. In her spare time, she can be found trawling the depths of libraries for new books to add to the to-be-read pile, which never seems to get any smaller. Her recent work appears in Eucalyptus & Rose Literary Magazine and A Coup of Owls, and is also featured in an anthology titled “Imaginary Creatures” from Carnation Books. She tweets from @thereginajade.