i woke to jaundiced clouds
bruised with ash
leaching the palette
to candlelit tones
of flayed skin
and knew that still
the fires raged

the turning of winds
had thickened the air

my lungs dragged
and i moved slow
like the dwindling men
i saw as a child
spitting blood on the path
with their collies and caps
and the sticks they leant on to breathe

and the breeze
rustled parched leaves
hissing like sand
in a drum
shaken to mimic
the sound of forgotten rain
on this rock
capped with tinder

and now
you tell me
you want to engage
the community

and I start
by telling you