I remember driving north from San Diego.
West of the highway, flames framed the ridge.
The wind blew from the sea
and we could breathe.   

I remember hearing gunshots
and reading about the fight. 
But we were the next block over,
in our backyard with friends.  

I remember walking in my neighborhood.
Hard voices hurtled out windows into the night.
The houses looked all alike.
I walked on believing it was not my home.  

And now Canada, pristine and pardoned,
roars in forked tongues that lick the sky
spits knives to our lungs, spues smoke
that rises to the atmosphere and spreads
like oil on water, touching everything
from the Atlantic to the Mississippi.  

Was she tired of our polite pontification,
of our cocoon of sanctity that we are unconquerable?