One Poem by Mare Heron Hake 14th Annual Contest in Poetry Finalist

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something was on fire nearby

I was in the middle of telling someone to put their laundry in the basket because the washing needed doing, thinking of water in the hard drought, and then my phone sounded an alarm, and I saw that yes it was time for alarm and something was on fire. I was in the middle of telling someone to clean their room because I couldn’t see the existing floor or how to fix it but then I dropped the empty basket in middle of the conversation and left, turning my face to the side because something was on fire nearby and we were in the middle. And I couldn’t tell them the call of the flames so I went outside and looked for the smoke and felt the heat and grew very alarmed when I saw the hawk on the backyard fence far from his home. I was in the middle of seeing him and thinking of flames when I heard the sirens as they called because something was on fire nearby and overhead the hot air was empty of hawks but full of circling helicopters trying to capture the smoke and the flame for the nightly news, when we were on the news for our fear of burning and something was on fire nearby. I was alarmed and something within me was very afraid and the phone wouldn’t tell me more, wouldn’t say if it was over, wouldn’t say if it was closer, and the hawk flew away from our yard full of sirens and chopper sounds, and some neighbors left in their cars burning their gasoline so hot, so dirty, fleeing in a hurry, and the heat brought some neighbors out of their homes, their homes full of heat and worry because we knew it could come racing to us, running, because something was on fire nearby, the conflagration of our woe and kindling silence as the world snapped its dry brittle fingers to ignite our end.




Mare Heron HakeMare Heron Hake is a poet of the South Salish Sea, also known as Puget Sound, in Washington. Hake was poetry editor, co-owner, and co-publisher for Tahoma Literary Review until her recent care-giving responsibilities took precedence. Her two books were both published mid-pandemic without launches, but she loves them just the same: SurvivalEye (Arroyo Seco Press) and Passages (Xlibris).

Read poetry by Mare Heron Hake previously appearing in one poem and three poems.

Header photo by Toa55, courtesy Shutterstock. is the first online literary journal of place, publishing award-winning literature, art, editorials, and community case studies since 1998.