drifting smoke

 last night, no candle burning
 no smoke added to the the orange air,
 in the dark, in the back field, cries or screams
 never heard before, lost animals calling family,
 this morning, no sunrise, 
no clouds, no background sky
 the sense of distance...a fog of ash
 trees, crops, villages, homes,
 for rabbits, deer, raccoon, bear, coyote, squirrel, and birds
 a dense fog of ash through slow rotation
 blanketing this side of this hill, so 
 there is no beyond
 already there is that one scrawny squirrel,
 the last one moving about before darkness last night,
 now perched on a grey fence post, surveyor of all this
 otherwise perceived stillness
 through the skeletons of the almost leafless Maples and Ash,
 over the carpet of tangled branches and wind torn leaves,
 i don my goggles and face mask, advance into this stillness
 turn on the sprinkler to quench the thirst
 of dried out plants and roots
 and fill the fountain for the birds and squirrels
 and anything else needing a bit of water, before
 i sit back down by the kitchen window
 birds are flying in from all directions
 perching in the Maples and Ash, resting on the fence posts,
 cautiously stepping to the perimeter of the swirling sprinkler head,
 the scrawny squirrel has brought a friend, checking for food under the leaves and playing tag, 
up and down the tree trunks,
 and for awhile this morning
 everyone has a drink as we wait
 out this orange sky stillness
 for the possibility of coming wind and rain.