Regina Jade

Wildfire

 

The fire rages.

The animals flee

And we sit in our cars

And press our feet to the gas

And pray.

 

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

To resume.

 

My daughter asks

When the game will be over.

But I have no answer

For her.

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.

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