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Michelle Bitting: The Great Fire

In the forest of my mind, I like to imagine
skins of Giant Sequoias thick enough to endure
a rapidly heating planet. Like the ceilings of London’s
Old Globe maintained their thatched oak shape even
after The Great Fire. Theater being the haven we leap
towards to both rekindle and escape what burns
us humanly up, sniffing sulphur from our seats. When
plague grips a grand city in its pitch and airless
fist, flames bore holes in flesh that the rats sing
sweetly through. Music being both solvent and lifeline,
hauling us out when longing dissolves every part
we think to toss in. Sometimes I light myself on
fire and watch small bodies skitter my edges. Buildings
I’m constructing from each scalded shadow fled.

Copyright 2022 Michelle Bitting

Michelle Bitting’s books include Nightmares & Miracles (Two Sylvias Press, 2020). She is the Poet Laureate of Pacific Palisades.

The Colorado fire burned near Rocky Creek Bridge on Route 1 near Big Sur, Calif. in 2022.. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group, via Associated Press)

7 comments on “Michelle Bitting: The Great Fire

  1. Lisa Zimmerman
    September 22, 2022


    Liked by 1 person

  2. kim4true
    September 21, 2022

    For some reason this brought to mind the Jethro Tull Chateau Disaster tapes. (I think we know it as an album titled Passion Play in America.)


    And God the director smells a rat,
    Pulls another rabbit from his hat,
    Sniffs the air, and says, “That’s that, I’m going.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. loranneke
    September 21, 2022

    Michelle Bitting has a way — her unique and fabulous way — of fearlessly writing into the heart of things…


  4. Sean Sexton
    September 21, 2022

    Wonderful poem! Thankyou


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This entry was posted on September 21, 2022 by in Environmentalism, Poetry and tagged , , .

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