Hymn

The fire has jumped the river limned with redwoods

Baptismal font, ball bearing
beam. Last year he
asked where he could
swim around here, here
the beaches are
all washed. I told him there
is the pacific ten
miles downstream and
the estuary is shallow.

The diablo winds have risen. The fire
is here like a second
coming they are all
saying come, come
quick the fire has
jumped the four-lane
highway, the oak
groves, the chaparral.

But I have yet
to matriculate
into a self. The project
of it all, the missing
desperation, mapping
the rate of smolder,
until it’s not we
don’t see what’s here.
We had all the right
tools: the shovel
for the well. The pick-
axe for the wall,

the pick for the lock;
we were shiny, new, the
river limned with
children.

Things are burning,
the approaching trot. This life
someone said is easy.
The fire has jumped the river.

Only life and another is a
catastrophe,
that sanctuary.

*

Emma Train is a poet from Berkeley, California. A graduate of UC Davis’s MFA program in creative writing, she is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, where she is writing her dissertation on contemporary queer ecopoetics. Her poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in the Berkeley Poetry Review, the Colorado Review, Grist, and Interim. She was most recently a finalist for the 2020 Omnidawn Open Book Prize and a finalist for Interim’s 2020 Test Site Poetry Series.

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