The Firefighter’s Wife

Waldo Canyon Fire coming into Mountain Shadows

Waldo Canyon Fire coming into Mountain Shadows

For the Waldo Canyon Fire, Colorado College will host an exhibit of work (poems, photos) commemorating those who endured and volunteered for the fire effort. Here is my (reworked) submission for the exhibit:

The Firefighter’s Wife

I am a car crash
Cranked metal twisting
Freshly destroyed
I am not rusted
The fury of my hands colliding
Asking why asking how asking for anything at all because an answer would be better than this
And yet not
It’s not about me
Distorted in shock
In guilt
And yet it must be hidden: shame of undiluted fear for others
It was never about me
It’s about children needing me to hold it together
It’s my love on a fiery mountainside as the flame front spreads out tentacles lashing
Unblinking they fight
Terror packed in back bunker pockets
It’s not there
Yet how can I tell them he’s safe
When he’s subduing and running and choking on smoke
No room for bruises when reassurance is the most important thing
So I lie
To everyone
Skeleton trees
Ash strewn in the air catching tongues
Catching catching gleaning peaking short
The rocks
Scorched but incapable of conducting
A wasted effort
Directed redirected reaching arching
Something more
These are the foothills of my young life
These are Jenner
The trauma has passed in the wind wisps faded
Embers blown
Eyes streaming and for what
Nightmares shall pass
Hunger shall return
And this is only part of a sea of restless Colorado summers where yellowed ash
Collects on windshields overnight
For certainly we are lucky happy family
It is through
Through to color memories of insufficiencies and bittersweet consolation prizes
Certain and savor the notion that we are lucky happy
No longer
– Carrie Nyman

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