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2022 Issue  >  Poetry  >  Wildfire Smoke Plume

Artwork by
Jesse Lee Kercheval

Wildfire Smoke Plume

Matt Mutiva

In this promised air, gray is invincible

another winter turned pale

tomorrow, we’ll glide to another landing spot

revving across the desert, fighting 

to defend something roughly the size of Massachusetts


maybe I am faster and more maneuverable 

singing happy birthday to my daughters

whose faces march away from me

the memory of them blowing out their candles, redeployed,

airburst white, mingling 

with low-level cumulus clouds

I'd take cover
when they white phosphorus Gaza


and my body drops like an empty canister

in the clutches of everything red

Matt Mutiva is a regular guy who writes what he can when he can. And when he can't, he writes anyway. If he's lucky, they'll call it poetry.

 Jesse Lee Kercheval is a writer, translator, and graphic artist. Her recent books include the short story collection Underground Women and La crisis es el cuerpo, a bilingual edition of her poetry, translated by Ezequiel Zaidenwerg, published in Argentina by Editorial Bajo la luna. Her recent graphic narratives, comics and art have appeared in Waxwing, The Quarantine Public Library, On the Seawall, Sweet Lit, and New Letters.

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