My Big Career: Fire Season

by Rebecca Lawton

My first blog post for My Big Career is in part about writers block. It came to me in the form of a poem, inspired by the work of James Tate, author of return to the city of white donkeys and other books. To celebrate the release of Jordan E. Rosenfeld’s Forged in Grace, and nearing the end of the wet season in California, my thoughts turn to the drying up of creeks and rivers and the role of fire in our arid-land lives. This is in tribute to the coming of March, as well, when the rainy season is sometimes gloriously renewed!

Fire Season

Nothing spoke to me from the page
on a morning when the greens of ferns,
fir, and toyon added up to exactly
fifty-seven separate values, and the hammock
sat slack, outside. Nothing asked to be
brought into the world, though the
dull ache in my gut said I’d die
if I didn’t make something, didn’t
birth the new, fresh, and
original, something so startling
the human race would marvel that
no one had said it before.

The sirens will wail today, in fire season,
though they may be going to collect
the bones and flesh of those
whose lives have ended, rather than turning
hoses of river water pumped seventy
miles from the beds of coho whose

sleek bodies push no more toward
the source, which fails me today,
though you won’t hear me complain.

Copyright 2013 by Rebecca Lawton

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