The winds rise, flames fought days
Now vaulting highways, fire breaks, sap-drool pines
A last-stand churn towards the amnesty of rain

The hoses parry, dodge stoked mercury, the sear
Currents pacing chem-dump passes, spotter aircraft
Jacking smother loads, wheeling to their grids

On the highway, cars trail out, a few at first, then more
Along the ribbon of sparking tar—houseplants
And histories stacked or strapped against
The serpent bite of Fahrenheit

From heatstroke houses a diaspora
Of failed resolve, each family 4×4 a vanishing point
Of wind-chime verandas, springboard pools

Firefighters recover to zones
Of cooling ash, buckling spring clamp
Oxygen to the cough

From the Chevy Suburban a girl regards
The makeshift fix of triage haze and evac

She soot-shakes her Disney princess dress, and waves
A sparkle wand

California dreaming

Dry blooms in a red vase


Estill Pollock‘s publications include Constructing the Human (Poetry Salzburg) and the book cycle, Relic Environments Trilogy (Cinnamon Press, Wales). His latest collections, Entropy and Time Signatures, are published by Broadstone Books. He lives in Norfolk, England.