Monday, 25 August 2008

fort mcmurray weather report

the air glowed orange and thick light
            leaked from overcast the colour of grease.
            coworkers' faces were slick with jaundice-twilight
            in the early afternoon.
ash from forest fires sixty miles northwest of town
            littered the streets like snow.
hail tore strips of siding off bungalows in Waterways
            shredded the greenhouse
            and punched holes the size of tennis-balls in trailers.
smoke filled the river basin and the Lower Townsite
            so that the far end of the bridge was just a ghost.
            the asthmatic stayed behind their window blinds
            and the rest of us hitched and sneezed.
downhill the rain pulled tents from our hands
            while uphill the asphalt baked the dust.
when the wind blew south the smell of oil from the sands
            and the sulphur tinge from the mines
            killed the bison and brought our paycheques.

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