When That Fire, a poem about life’s fearsome autumns (and surviving them)

When I first wrote this poem I thought it would be the beginning of a longer piece, something with more of a redemptive arc. I tried and tried to find the rest of the poem, but nothing else fit.

Reading it now, I love that it stops where it does. That it doesn’t try to soften the terror of watching one of life’s autumns sweep in around you.

And now I can see that the redemptive arc is the poem itself—just the fact that it exists. That there’s a person called Me who survived the annihilation, who endured the long wait for spring, who can look back with deeper eyes and say, “I remember when…”

Tomorrow is the autumnal equinox, so I’m sharing this poem to honor the autumns we all experience in our lives:

When That Fire

The destroying fire
is coming into
the leaves
again—

oranges and deep
reds gathering
around the
edges,

preparing to consume
whole trees,
turn forests
into

boneyards. I remember
when that fire
came for
me.

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