A Column of Smoke

ghosted west to the sea
and I missed my off ramp

like most of the others
who prayed to the fire gods

oh please, not me,
and I saw from a distance

the mean residue
of burnt chaparral and

blistered black trees,
the carports and cribs

of suburban tribes
who fled with heads down

from their choked memories
and the burnt-out ends

of their west coast lives
that were hidden in rivers

of nameless debris.
I tasted pure luck

in my chilled Chardonnay
and thanked god this time

I got off scot-free.




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