The fires drove us away when they raged and caged my breath.
My family’s home in my lungs with buildings and machines, blood and bones, a million dead dreams and more.
We could not have known what was in store for the forests of the world any more than the sea knew she’d be swallowing oil.
And the fire swept, angry at man for all he takes.
Deliberate mistakes at the cost of fundamental needs, wiping away trees to make room for farms.
For money and expansion, and for personal taste in views, we lose our sacred forests and the places where we belong, no matter if people are displaced.
Cursed to wander by the wrath of the gods who are waiting for someone to admit they were wrong before it’s too late.
And Oh, Mother, was I ever wrong.
I thought I could love you enough for the world, but love is not enough in the heart of one girl, even if the oceans are her brethren and the forests her kin.
All that does is drive the destruction deep under my skin and into my soul.
And I become restless when there is no where safe left to go.
Stuck in stasis watching sacred ground burn from afar.
How I wish I could sweep her up into my arms, as if that would keep her from harm, but I know it won’t.
It will only burn me, too, and l’d be ashes in the soil to grow somebody’s food once the humans are all gone.
Some better creature who learned that the love of nature is the key to survive.
My heart aches meanwhile as we ensure the weather patterns change.
And our trial has only begun. Life will be unrecognizable before we are done here.
The price of mankind is higher than the cost written into existing when we don’t see the impact of how we are living.
When we forget we are connected to everything alive.
And when we take, we must give something in return, or the land is depleted and the world catches fire.
My, how she burns, and burns.
Maybe the law of living is sacrifice, and I have been going the wrong way.
Maybe I cannot escape devastation’s reach, and it’s time to stop trying.
Maybe it’s not my destiny to leave my mark because I belong to the spark.
Maybe it’s my blood The Mother needs to let her new children breathe.
Maybe it’s time I jump into the flames to know my place with the ones who came before.
To be the shoulders upon which the next ones will stand, long after I become the land.
Copyright © Sheyorah Naify, 2021
Author’s Note: This piece was written while processing feeling called to relocate to the Seattle area, but not being able to due to prior lung damage from California fires and the growing fire hazard in the Pacific Northwest, my home land. My family lost everything in the Camp Fire of Paradise, California, the smoke and chemicals from which gave me lung disease and lead me to take refuge in the Southwest. Here, I struggle in other ways, including not being able to find anywhere to move that would work better for me.