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For the Rest of the Trees by Christina Gessler

For the Rest of the Trees

by Christina Gessler

published in Black Fork Review, 2021

When the firemen came and told us to pack what we could they offered us a helpful checklist: passport keys important medications and such but staring at the list I thought unkind things about whoever wrote it. Don’t they know? My passport expired three years ago, and all the things that

matter I can’t pack.

When the firemen left

and the red cross came they offered us each a small water bottle that we used to douse a hot spot that suddenly erupted beside the car while I called 911 to ask the firemen to come back 911 asked me to give to the nearest address, so they could I don’t know the address the mailboxes have all burnt, I said Fine, she said, how about a landmark They all burnt too Ok, she sighed, can you tell me what it looks like there A moonscape, I said Then where should I send the rig, she asked To the fire on Toro Canyon, I said, you’ll see it burning up the only things we have


It’s when I learned what grief is, when the fire comes back for the rest of the trees

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