Flames twice the height of trees
are awesome measures of destruction.
We drove so close the hair singed on our arms.
I didn’t know–we couldn’t know–the danger
they, and we, were in. My father fought wildfires
but we were going to the beach. Another time. 

His anger flared enough to make him monstrous.
We learned to compensate, to take on guilt
and negativity in small licks, like poison
meant to make you stronger. We loved him
for the embers, never disappearing, that meant
he loved us best. A fire can rejuvenate the land.