“Bootleg Fire” by Lynne Thompson

Lynne Thompson


In California, there were seasons for fires, once. When
Motown released Martha & her Vandellas’ Heat Wave

and I shimmied with the door knob because I was
a believer that tomorrow was a vow lit from within,

the season usually began with a rudely-named Indian
Summer and was over just about the time the family

sat down to gorge on turkey flash-dancing in filmy gravy,
macaroni-and-cheese, and collard greens. There’s no such

season anymore and fires are no longer content to play
by themselves. See how Oregon’s Bootleg Fire isn’t fire only.

Is lightning. Is generator of its own weather and the clouds
pyrocumulonimbus. Remember Mrs. Dent, second grade, who

taught us nimbostratus, cumulus, and we, thinking that was all
there was, hung from monkey bars, skipped rope, stole home?

from Poets Respond
July 27, 2021


Lynne Thompson: “A New York Times article described the Bootleg Fire in Oregon as creating its own weather. I couldn’t help but recall a more ‘innocent’ time when fires—though devastating—were not as horrific as those we all face today.” (web)

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