poems by Micah Ling

And then the fire comes. And then the fire doesn’t stop. Have you ever seen a barn burn thick smoke? Fill the sky, block sun and clouds? Have you smelled hot fire burning old wood, old grains, straw? Have you heard the whisper-hiss and pop of it all? The collapse of board after board, the spread of ash and black? Have you heard the crowd chanting something, anything? Halleluiah or Death, in sync, in anger, in passion? Have you ever gone so fast and wanted to go faster than a fast train or a puma or a scared, scared crook? Have you wished you could fly and dive and almost hit the water hard, almost fall? Have you seen a glimpse of something good in the sick dry heat of drought? Have you grabbed a stranger’s hand just to feel the rough skin of someone sadder than yourself? Have you walked wide-eyed through a new moon night, darker than an empty closet? Will you tell me God is great? Will you chant happy things? Will you root for the fire, this time?