On Living

“Fire plays an important and critical role in influencing vegetation and the lifecycles of trees and plant communities. Many species are dependent on fire.”

Controlled Burning, “Historic Role of Fire,”
The United States Department of Agriculture

Pray on fire, write on fire.

Sweat like the chef who feeds

the steam engine, arms thick
and smoked like turkey legs, feathers afloat.

Flames dissipate, spew floating ash, cool
chalky, that irritates the eyes, that billows in plumes,
that smudges and blackens soft, blunt charcoal.

Singe like a razor, sanitized by fire.
Burn in the dead afternoon.
Burn in your own boring swamp.

Fish your commute out from the hiss
of the changing channels. Flames lick,
flames jump freeways, flames smoulder.

Smudging prayer, smudging paper,
smudging the air with nearly silent sizzle.

Slow, small,
controlled burn.

Recycle your nutrients, restore your
ecosystem’s health, prepare yourself
for new trees and vegetation.

Pray on fire, write on fire.

-Annabelle Bonebrake

My work has been previously published in Cathexis Northwest Press, Cardio Arts, and the Northridge Review. I graduated with a BA in English and a teaching credential from CSU, Northridge in 2018. I currently live and teach in the San Fernando Valley. With gratitude, Annabelle Bonebrake

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