Roadside inferno

For the people of Fort McMurray, from Salt Spring Island poet
J. O. Scully



I don’t have a prayer
for you
as your everything
is reduced to coals and smoke
but this life
that I live
my everything
is burnt, scalded,
if only in imagining
the burning in your eyes,
the coughing of your child,
your hidden panic
as you look from
the roadside inferno
to the gas gauge
and you don’t know
what you should fear more,
the flames making the highway soft
or the needle pointing nearly to empty.
If I had a prayer
for you
the words would
not enter through your closed windows
would not take up
or save those photo albums
those toys or baby shoes
that trophy or plaque
or anything else you left behind
in the rush to flee the flames.

I don’t have a prayer for you
but I’m holding this moment
frozen against the flames
and hoping
that gentleness
and ease
and shelter
and prayerful hearts find you.

~ J. O. Scully

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