*wrote this one a while ago, but took it down to try to submit it a couple places. No such luck, so I thought I’d post it again:

when the western horizon you’ve relied upon is engulfed in flames
when the tv screen screams and the telephone blares and you have
to leave home, have to say goodbye to the place you call home
when you have to run from your memories into clinical stations
into big giant rooms with terrible beds and the floors are flooding
with mothers and fathers and children engulfed in tears drowning out
the western light of chaos out of the western wind, the mountains on fire
when God is a child with a matchbook and somehow God is a fire truck too
when hopelessness spreads like wildfires spreading like the house you used your
soft hands to build and your hard heart to make a home to live and love within
when the grey ghosts like titans tear at your rib cage; your ceiling beams
when there is a genocide on your happiness being composed by an insane conductor
when the evergreens are nevermore and in your rearview mirror is everything
you could carry and in your rearview mirror is smoke and ash and years gone away
when the radio is calm voices that shriek through your sweating forehead and
how are they so calm? why are they so calm? in their cool newsrooms as the reports
pour in like fires like endless fires amongst mountains older than any of us and it
follows you everywhere like a murderer chasing your family down interstate twenty-five and
when you seek refuge in denver, in the hearts and homes of anyone who’ll have you
and you just want to turn off the television and turn off the lights and turn off the sky
when your tears are not enough, when they fight the fires but the fires fight back
when you don’t know what tomorrow looks like and when yesterday is just a dying
phoenix flying falling on its final pair of wings when ashes to ashes and dust to dust
when the road is home but the road is not your home, when you learn to carry your
home inside of yourself and when home is your child’s hand in the palm of your hand
there is struggle and there is a day you have to go back to the debris and the rust and death
and shovel through to see what the world looks like if you were not a part of it but
when you are forced to do all this, i admire your courage and anyone caught in the cross-
fires knows that this too will pass and until it does i wish you serenity and love and don’t let
the fires that burn endlessly swallow the stories i have heard in your throat and see in your
red eyes.






Author: brice maiurro

Denver poet. Author of Stupid Flowers, out now through Punch Drunk Press.

10 thoughts on “ON THE FIRES IN COLORADO”

  1. I have family living in Colorado and luckily they were not directly affected. I think your poem has captured many of the feelings experienced by those who were.

  2. Hi three years ago in Australia…I live in south eastern Victoria in a town called Warburton..anyway that year we lost over a 100 people in the fires. Our town had the fires raging over the ridge then turned onto another town killing 40 people. So you see this really has affected me & many others in the valley. Your poetry is wonderfully descriptive

    1. I sympathize with you guys out there. I don’t think people realize that it’s not about your possessions burning away. It feels to me like its the place you stored your memories going away.

      1. Yeah I think your right. Leaving to go to the city was very painful & also sort of absurd. You know people sitting around laughing, cafes & sort of oblivious to the terror only 70 kilometres away. I think life has a touch of the absurd….we live in a sort of comic-tragic play…..just thoughts………

  3. Bruce,
    I live in Fort Collins and experienced many of these feelings during the High Park Fire and then watching Colorado Springs burn. What a summer. As someone new to writing poetry, I find your work truly inspiring. This one really hit “home.” Thank you.

  4. This is go…od!
    Especially the lines about the rearview mirror, and also road…home…not your home.
    The piece makes me sad in a not-sad way.
    The whole piece is quite loaded actually.
    Good work, Brice!

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