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Dream Smoke

Columbia River Gorge –pastel by Judith Cunningham- image used by permission.
Midnight in the nostrils
wildfire smoke tendrils,
but it’s April before 
the leafed-out maple.

She throws the blanket back
while three dogs remain 
stepping down the dream hall
the orange cat-- a ball--
spot glows but not awake.

She stands on the gravel
alert wild animal 
the sequined night it bites
no smoke all bright.

The kitchen door is next 
she stands on the deck
she sees toward the town –
the river where 
the canyon airs
where smoke does hang
then creeps up fears
—should we have left—
have we prepared...?

Through the patio door 
she stands on the bricks
a dying creature rips
not through the Spring night
delight moon and stars 
hang full in comely site.

Relief—where is the smoke?
she returns inside
gathers her gown to
smother her dreams that
 memories had found.






Note:  September 2020 ferocious and devastating wildfires spread across the communities along the I-5 corridor in Oregon. Many people lost their homes, and hundreds of people and animals were evacuated to safer areas. Eastern Oregon was covered by air quality (above 400 level –the top tier for toxicity) for over seven days – ash rained from the sky –the heavens were orange each day, and people could not safely go outside without a respirator. It was impossible to forget.