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Remnants

 

Rivulets steam and stream

Salty, hot,

Under this thick non-woven

Breathing face mask,

Meant to keep out

A million miniscule molecules

Of ash, one remnant of

That rant of fire

That leapt the canyons and dry ridges,

In one pyrocumulus moment

Then consumed, decimated,

This now catastrophed neighborhood

Where children and dogs once played

And grey rabbits nibbled, hopping beside

Twin fawns at dawn.

 

We volunteers

Shovel debris,

Shovel residue,

Shovel cinders

Of unrecognizables,

Sifting stunned,

Sifting silently,

Sifting hoping

for

Mementos of memories.

 

We sweat

Inside these white disposable Tyvek suits,

Sifting rubble,

Looking for beauty

Among ashes.

 

Courageous homeowners stop by.

Amid rivulets of their own,

Springing up from raw places,

They weep hope, the largest remnant of

That rant of fire:

“We will rebuild.”

 

 

© Lane M. Arnold

July 26, 2012

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Your poetry gives expression to things too deep for normal words. It gives glimpses of Hope’s resilience.

    July 26, 2012
    • lane1225 #

      Anne, I tried writing a blog or personal essay about the fire, and about the experience…but like you said so well, poetry sometimes speaks best for things too deep for normal words. My email is lanemathisarnold@gmail.com. I ‘d love to hear about you and your coaching niche. Joyfully, Lane

      July 26, 2012
  2. Lane, I especially like these lines:

    Sifting stunned,
    Sifting silently,
    Sifting hoping
    for
    Mementos of memories.

    And this one: “They weep hope.”

    July 26, 2012
    • lane1225 #

      Thank you, Kimberlee. The strength of the fire is nothing compared to the strength of hope in these homeowners who lost everything. They stun me with their resilience.

      July 26, 2012
  3. Donna #

    This is so powerful, and makes me think that we don’t really know what everything is until we lose what we thought it was… learning that it’s bigger than even that. Such a potent piece. Thank you.

    July 27, 2012
    • lane1225 #

      I agree, Donna. Loss leads to depth. Working in the burn site was poignant and palatable with grace.

      July 27, 2012

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