Today's poem is by Ada Limón

Home Fires

Crowned newly with a fearsome cutting,
I fold the aqua blanket twice to stay alive.

Headstones in the heart's holler, sludge
of what's left after the mountain's blasted.

Not a kid anymore, there are no pretty victims
or greasy cavernous villains spitting blazes.

Just a week ago, I wondered what this, this,
would be like, to be wholly blown apart.

The women of Appalachia are watching
each home poisoned by bad air, deadly water,

their kin are losing teeth. Liver cancer,
gallbladders full of black coal sludge, and still

they stand for the mountains they loved, rage
in the coal muck for their blood-deep origin.

What must it be like, I wonder, to fear the fall
every day? Might come a flood. Might come death.

To look out at the coal fires burning
every hour endlessly for fifty years and to know

your land may be condemned, razed, and not want
to simply lie down and die. I am not that strong.

Wickedness has leaked into the home I made,
and I want to burn it down. Sister, tell me

how you stand the murderous fury. You there
still singing, I crave demolishing, to eat explosives.

How could I have imagined this? Mortal me,
brutal disaster born out of so much greed.

Copyright © 2015 Ada Limón All rights reserved
from Bright Dead Things
Milkweed Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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