Collective Unrest

 

70, 868 Acres

March 26, 2019

On the asphalt at the turnaround, we wrote in chalk, in the largest letters:
Two homes, flume access
Water resources 16,500 gallon pool
Fire hose bibs at corners of house
Three 1000 gallon tanks drawn from well

When it may all burn down to the ground, let us pack—
The Diebenkorn, the Thiebaud lithograph, wrapped in Granna’s quilt no
every quilt: pushed hurriedly into the trunk of the car; the quilts: bring them all.
The scale model you made of the house, this perfect replica held in two hands
A box of handwritten recipes
A pair of slippers
Your favorite glasses
The laundry folded neatly on top of the dryer
And please, please, from our family home, save this one thing for me: a picture
of the sky
on the day I was born.

a firebreak sixteen dozer blades wide; the simmering hills we watched that night from the highway
And from the charred earth, once corduroy grass, once chaparral, once deodora cedars, once live oak,
this dark reliquary of gems, silica turned to glass—

But listen, listen: it isn’t the fire that’s the matter—
after, driving behind a bulldozer on a flatbed truck you cry so hard that you have to pull over
when at night, in the sleep you can manage, the dream flames are so close, so close that you find yourself awake, your lover holding your head in his hands
it’s alright
it’s alright
it’s alright

Listen: the hard ring of the bell calling all the volunteer firemen to work, so quick;
And you, watching from the grocery store parking lot as they stream toward the station
It’ll take you a good hour to calm down enough to buy the apples, the carton of milk–

Listen: a siren echoes
Listen: a plane flies low overhead, and you,
you can’t hold them at arm’s length—
the toyon by the kitchen window, it has to go
the bull pine over the deck, cut it down;
the black oak you prized so much, take it—
the bleached gold white grasses of summer, deracinated

Listen: take the dog for a walk,
anything better than the stillness in your kitchen as you push the forest away with both your hands—
just walk with her,
walk, ash falls, a darker storm, walk: cling to her soft white paws

 

Jill Bergantz Carley lives in Calaveras County, California. Her work is forthcoming from Opossum, Silver Needle Press, and Argot Magazine this fall. Her day job in engineering keeps her out of trouble. “70,868 Acres” was previously published in The Raw Art Review.

Please follow and like us:
Newer Post

response to Jeff Sessions using the Bible to defend separating immigrant children from their parents

i. what do             you love                         most,                         Jeff?             let’s take         that from        your             tight-fisted     egg                  and see             who scrambles                      first. ii. have you ever             held a discharged                         hand grenade?                                                 pieces too disparate,                                                             aren’t they? spread                                     like dandelion seeds                         on a lawn shadowed in whiteness. iii. i…
Read
Older Post

Last Rites at the Public Hospital's ER

That afternoon, I accompanied my cousin Dante, on his hospital wheelchair as we waited for a doctor to tend to his sprained ankle, when they wheeled in a 40ish man, half-naked, brown skin perforated with a dozen stab wounds, laid…
Read
Random Post

Approaching San Francisco

Like a handmade model to scale; even lines, finely painted details. There’s a spot on the Bay Bridge where the picturesque city looks not quite real: a postcard or seagull’s low-flying periphery. Any moment, a guy dressed like a giant…
Read
Random Post

The Spirit of A War Sleeps Beneath My Skull

(For Biafra) Separated by a wall of forty-nine years, I had no true feel of the war. No memory of what could have been disassembled into tiny visions, of planes flying & grazing the country’s landscape with fire, sealing the…
Read
Random Post

In the wake, so intimate, There is

The following pieces, "In the wake," "so intimate," and "There is," by J.I. Kleinberg are visual poems from an ongoing series of collages built from phrases created unintentionally through the accident of magazine page design.       Artist, poet,…
Read
Random Post

AM I STILL HERE?

Everyday my Aunt Catherine, who outlived the rest of the family, would wake up and say “Am I still here?” Disappointed, she made tea, fed her bird, and let the light in. I thought man, she is a downer. Why…
Read