The fires still burn, but the solid curtain of toxic smoke begins to fold pleat-by-pleat. Lightning and thunder cracked the shell, and rain-O-sweet-blessed-rain fell a bucket full. The smoke ebbs and flows, from yellow to orange, but not the deep purple of last week. The water bucket is still out on the hill for the wild things, but they have gone their own way, braver than me.
Each month of this astounding year taught a new acronym-filled vocabulary of disaster:
AQI= Air Quality Index
Viral Load= Distance x Duration + Density
BLM= Black Lives Matter AND Bureau of Land Management
Equinox arrives tomorrow morning when the sun moves into the constellation of Libra, the sign of the scales symbolizing justice and balance, when days and nights equalize for a trace moment of exhalation. Then we fall. How hard is the question. There will be neither justice nor balance this season. It’s still the Year of the Rat and though we gnawed off the paw, we are still caught in the trap. There’s a hitch in my left hip from curling downward, especially at night, hugging my knees and straining for rain to fall from the eaves.
Mercy and I went out to the river so she could finally swim after two weeks, picked the ripe feral figs along the way. We fell into polite, socially-distanced step with a young woman and Otter, her red heeler . He hasn’t been the same since the fires, she said. And I nodded. Sing goddamn.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver
Damn you, sing: Goddamm.
― Ezra Pound