The sun rises prison orange
as if it feels Oregon and Montana blaze
from its perch one astronomical
unit away, but only our thin slip
of atmosphere knows
what we are pouring into it.
And what hell it dishes back out:
the piney back-alleys swallow ash into
ash so thick hikers cloak their faces
and here, three states away,
our mountains fade as if by hiding from us
they could avoid the fires
waiting in a busted oil tank
or gleaming through a teenager’s eye.
Photo credit: Mark Gunn, Creative Commons, Flickr