We Sift through the Smoke in our Apartment and You Ask, “Are We in Hell?”

We Sift through the Smoke in our Apartment and You Ask, “Are We in Hell?”

The air has changed. Lightning fires
in the bay. My lungs are still

sliced through from February’s illness.
I watch handkerchiefs-to-lips flee—wonder

where to set what little we can
all lift without a bottle of hand sanitizer.

Pack a small suitcase, a backpack. Just
be ready, Cal-Fire advises every corner of the state.

The smoke inflames my legs, hips, arms. Brings
an uncontrolled eye-twitch. Music fades

with my left ear, in and out. Again, the sky
is dyed unearthly orange. The oranges

enveloped ash. The tomato plants
(I have finally kept alive) wither. Vines

are sputtering husks. Filament collects
in my eyes each morning, thickly

whispers, these particles were once
pillows, mugs, photos, lovers.