Erasure: What We Lost in the Fire

  San Francisco,  November 2017

San Francisco, November 2017

From "What We Lost in the Fire" by Ian Devereux White, San Francisco magazine, November 2017

What We Lost in the Fire

We woke to heavy air, electricity crackers,

a confused clutching bunny. I sped south

(rushed to her, more than 35 years ago)

no stranger to disaster. 

Many times we've seen smoke and wondered. 

I walked eerie, empty

broken streets. Earthquake stories of lives 

lost and wine ruin. I inched through intersections

with dark stoplights. Flames raced up the hillside,

left black chaos where geometric

vineyards had been -

the smoldering mounds, 

our friends. We listened to the radio 

and heard acres burning, history burning. 

How long, happy travelers? 

I drove back after dawn through smoke and falling ash,

arrived ready to fight. But: 

Black smoke all around us, blue skies above, 

unnatural and untouched and

safe. Tourists showed up to drive into 

the Atlas fire, so we made sandwiches

in a candlelit kitchen, walked the dark, 

and poured wine. 

After the fires die down,

we'll crush grapes. 

 

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