? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 11


Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb

Facing the Fire

What a wicked, wild night—the useless,
dry clouds backlit by spreading flames,
forest screaming with fire, moon all bloody.

Desperate for information, I rely on Google,  
on updated search results to find how much
time we have before we’re forced to flee—

resenting the sensationalistic prompts
to watch live streaming images of residents
evacuating homes, faces shadowed in denial,

in confusion. My ninety-year-old neighbor
knows how to handle this situation.
Having been a farmer most of his life, 

he’s seen a lot of loss, grieved over a wife
and blackened fields. He knows what it’s like
to hose down the roof of a threatened house.

He hates living in this subdivision; outside,
his frail, hunched body firmly facing the fire,

he yells, “Come get me, you smoky bitch!”