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At Such an Angle
By Damian C. Koshnick
This poem was written [Thursday, May 13, 2009] in response to the Jesusita Fire
which nearly burned downtown Santa Barbara to the ground.
and what is amazing
is not the change
but that we can forget this,
that more often than not
we do, for a time.
But a man clearing brush
in the hills above our city
will hit a rock at such an angle
on a Tuesday afternoon under sun
with a weed wacker
the brush he had meant to clear
will instead take to fire, slowly
listlessly at first
and then explode after he has gone back
downhill, satisfied with an afternoon of work
Houses burn, tens of thousands of people
go elsewhere, worried suddenly by the awe
that possibly even a city is not permanent,
that it may not in fact last the week.
The man is wanted for questioning by police.
Because when cities burn, questions must be asked.
But there are no answers to these questions,
at least not ones that a man can answer,
even if you could find the right one;
who is eating cereal at this moment
in his pajamas, listening to the radio
given to him by his dear mother
who recently passed.
Damian C. Koshnick
firstname.lastname@example.org / (701) 306-8602