originally published in The Slag Review

More trees in the mountains went up, and the firelight was yellower than the day before. He called it the color of dry sand. The sun reddened, as if not in anger, but in grief. Who wouldn’t mourn? Homes lost, people evacuated, men exhausted from no way to quench the flames. Blackened skeletons were left behind, not just trunks and branches, foundations and chimneys, but bodies, too. They didn’t talk about the…