A.N. Dedicated to the victims of the California wildfires.

A thousand tonnes of ash descend

Upon us in a curse hell-sent

What wrong we did, none can be sure

The weeks, months past are but a blur

All we can see is ash and smoke

It coats our lungs, and makes us choke

The air is thick; each breath is dear,

Smoldered in grief, anguish, and fear

An empty hand is all we have

They say muster hope, but I’m not sure we can

The flames have devoured every last dream

The parks where we played, the schools and the streets,

The trees which we climbed, and the fields where we roamed,

And that small pile of ashes I called my home

Everything is gone, and nothing remains

Yet we struggle to move forward, at the end of each day

The sky is aflame with burnt-out dreams

The patchwork of lifetimes, undone at the seams


Puffball Lewis, or How to Trick-or-Treat

A.N. Falls off towards the end, sorry.

’twas a crisp autumn eve when the demons arrived

Defiling the air as they rushed to their prize

Releasing their stench while the good folks around

Cowered and trembled as they fell to the ground

But, to their cemetery spot, the demons all sped

Where they feasted on corpses of flesh freshly-dead

What a horrible sight it was to behold!

The corpses unearthed, both young and old

But who would stop them? Would a hero arise?

Would he come a-flying through the dark, foggy skies?

Or would he jump in, leaping straight off a roof,

Vanquishing the demons in a moment of truth?

Of all the scenarios, the hero least likely

Was the one who emerged, righteous and mighty

He was a small ball of fluff, a tiny, cute thing,

Screaming his outrage while flapping his wings

Bright beady eyes condemned those who dared

Interfere with his peace, catch his people unawares

Though his wee chirps were tiny, his messages were strong,

And, one by one, the other people joined along

The foul demons froze, dropped their deplorable deeds,

And, overwhelmed by this courage, began their retreat

The people moved to followed, bearing rakes and knives,

Ready to draw blood, to bring justice alive

But the Puffball only chirped, though now to bring calm,

For there are other ways than violence to right these types of wrongs

And the people dropped their weapons, for they saw the demons’ fear,

Beings whose hunger drove them to feast but once per year

That’s when the Puffball Lewis brought his best idea to light

He gave a bowl of candies to these demons of the night

And helped them to discover a brand-new type of treat

The first trick-or-treaters, from this generous Halloween feat

A Stitch in Time

It was quarter past two, the crescent moon dim,

When I was called by the nurses to look after him

Both my legs were aching as I stood by his bed

Tears filled his eyes as he looked up, and said

Words I couldn’t hear, lost in the time

He had run out of, despite his efforts, and mine

We knew it was coming, naught left to do

Though he’d business unfinished, his time here was through

But I went through the motions, the masks and the meds,

Took all his vitals, and raised the head of the bed

Ordered the bloodwork, the x-rays, and scans

So automatic, I forgot he was a man

I called him a number, as I yelled through the phone,

Dialed specialists and his wife, who was still back at home

Asked for permission, for guidance, for help

Tried every type of BiPap mask on the shelf

But it wasn’t enough, and he grew worse,

I was trying to help, but seemed to have done the reverse

By the time help arrived, he no longer was breathing

And his wife stood beside, quietly weeping,

I guess that’s one way for a person to die

Is this blood on my hands? Whose fault is this? Mine?

Was there something else to do? Even now I don’t know

I found no comfort when they told me, “It was his time to go.”

It still somehow feels wrong, like I’ve committed a crime

It’s funny how things can change in one small stitch in time