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A gray sky flattening and a tickle
in the throat comes as a warning
that the world is Yours, and night

also, and fire, the ascending light
limning the hills. We pack, picking
the useless and sentimental to save:

photos of the dead, jewelry, war medals
and china, forgetting walking shoes,
underwear. You call earth to sun

and we are unprepared for devouring,
stopped on the crowded freeway, lines of cars
dwarfed by fire framing

strings of car lights, red and white roses
alchemists counted centuries ago
conjuring this image: a flaming company,

saints gathered in a blue corps around You.
And we look. How hot it is.
If You were cold or hungry You would not tell us.

      — Allyson Shaw

Hear Allyson Shaw read 'Brush Fire Psalm'