Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature: over 400,000 monthly users

Molly Fisk: Summer Lightning

In the morning while it’s still cool we hose down the yard,

watch a red sun crest the ridge, haloed in wildfire smoke


that drifted 200 miles and stalled here against the mountains.

A house fly is walking across the table, six tiny feet leaving


tracks in the yogurt. One cat has already eaten a hummingbird.

If you think about joy long enough, maybe death will make sense:


a matter of balance. The deer caught in a fire outside Redding,

the rabbits and bear cubs, king snakes… and you know when 30 boats


melt at anchor in Whiskeytown, fish in that lake have perished.

Displaced blue herons, mergansers. I am not asking forgiveness


for the hummingbird. I plant the flowers and water them —

who else would come for their nectar? And what cat wouldn’t leap


at the chance? In this world there is order wherever you look:

cause, effect, logic, consequence. A dry winter, and a car backfire


or summer lightning ignites just one branch, which bends

in the wind the flames create to brush another. A few hours later


it’s 45 square miles and uncontained. The fire jumps the river

right after supper, headed downtown, and cars crawl away


from their homes in a dark lit by headlights and flung sparks,

chased by the crackle and gathering roar, song of a small city burning.


Copyright 2018 Molly Fisk


Mendocino wildfire in California, August 2018.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Enter your email address to follow Vox Populi and receive new posts by email.

Join 12,183 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 4,339,893 hits


%d bloggers like this: