Though from Here I Can’t Smell the Smoke

In medieval frescoes haloed saints are edged in flame 
when God is around,
melting like a rumor
to the corners of a room,
giving off heat. Tulip-tipped, sky-bright. 

These days, they name fires like saints:

Willow, Glass, Dixie, August, Wolf,
Live Oak, Snow, Point, Camp, Creek. I’m feeling thermal

as my home state burns 
up another set of firsts.

I watch footage on repeat:

embers fly, jump highways, scrape
life from gnarled hillsides. Soot
in the atmosphere. Viewable

from space. I turn
the volume up: interference on the microphone, ash-colored, this pitch
of burning, this tunnel
funneling waves—

The glowing perimeter thrums, widens.
Rim of the world, smoldering.

Where did my edges go?
What holds
head to neck, hand to fingers,
brain to sickness?
I can feel the stitches lift—

The flame stalks, flowers 
up, and eats

now stands of trees, now scrub
and mountain underbrush. The sky
gauzes with smoke

and air
that rustles—spark and sear
of holy cellophane.

Copyright © 2023 by Allison Hutchcraft. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 6, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.