Fire is threatening the board-and-care home.
Warm, windy, October weather,
steep terrain, narrow, winding roads,
fire trucks, cop cars, ambulances,
impede the flow
of those struggling
to remove the impaired,
victims in a cage.
One helpless, white-haired old lady
is filled with fear that the fire will rage
up the canyon through brush
to crucify them all
in their bedridden state,
an evil leaping inferno
cremating all in its path.
A memory of a campfire where she
toasted marshmallows by a mountain lake
on a starlit summer night
as a 16-year-old in love
flits across her mind.
"How can something so wonderful
be so horrible?" she wonders.
The wind, wild as March, rattles windows,
carries the smell of smoke.
Helicopters roar overhead. Sirens scream.
Even if her aged, trembling legs could move,
locked gates at the end of private roads
would prevent her escape.
The few elderly who toddle to a
gate push at it to no avail,
some being crushed
like soccer fans in their panic.
Back at the board-and-care home,
the thin, white-haired old lady is paralyzed.
Fingers useless, buttons undone,
unable to stand,
she awaits her fate.