the update

Back to: Surviving the Devil: A Song of Fire
Poem #16 from the ‘Surviving the Devil’ collection (unpublished)

the fires started
fourteen days ago

three remain burning

one million acres of forest
have been converted
into an uncounted number
of blackened sticks

god alone knows
how to measure the life
in a million acres

five hill towns
have become empty streets
lined by ashen allotments
otherwise known
as map references

two hundred and nine are said
to have died
the toll is still being counted
they died in twenty-four different places
that lost eighteen hundred and thirty-four
good homes

the effort to respond
numbered four thousand five hundred
who came to help
from up north
and from around the world

the seven and a half thousand
who were shepherded or fled somehow
are settling into tents
and too soon they’ll greet
the cooler nights of autumn

three started fires that killed
in fourteen places
they’re being held and charged
and all that rigmarole

the weather
is so nice today
the bureau is concerned that
next Friday
might be a re-run
of the Black Saturday just gone

what will we name that day
if the devil calls
to dance with us

© Frank Prem, 2010

To Poem #17: the look of salvation

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