A True Story

Summer
and if the sun were a smoker
its ankle would be twisting
its knee describing satisfying arcs
as it squashed us butts under
its big chunky-soled boot

but it's not the sun that's smoking.
We've been to the markets and 
we're walking back to the car
grass crunching underfoot like
natural-grown cellophane.

Rain has been rare this season
like the Road Works of the sky
has sent the clouds detouring
and Australia is temporarily
off the map.  The air is flammable

like the gum leaves with their
concentrated skeletons of
scented oil pumping eucalypt
generously.  A car passes us, windows
open,  utz utz pulsating the heavy

atmosphere.  A tiny white object
flicks out and cartwheels to our feet,
its glowing end shivering among
the browning blades.   Husband 
yells before I have even identified
the problem and he's bending

and running and throwing that 
cigarette end back into the car
onto the lap of a big red-faced
man.  "RUN!"  yells husband and
we are haring like silly teenagers

through the carpark to our
get-away vehicle and he's 
laughing and I'm puffing curses
and we drive right past the man
who is looking around furiously
shaking his fist at a culprit he can't find.

Written for Earthweal challenge “RESTORE OUR EARTH”

30 thoughts on “A True Story

  1. No one can deny the bush fires, they happen and, even though I live thousands of miles from them, they affect me and everyone else the whole world over. But those of you who experienced them know them better than we do, and you’ve shown that so clearly in this poem. The opening stanza is so vivid in its description. These lines made me prickle with heat:
    β€˜β€¦ The air is flammable
    like the gum leaves with their
    concentrated skeletons of
    scented oil pumping eucalypt
    generously.’
    I am always angry when I see a lit cigarette fly out of a car window, but to let it fall onto β€˜browning blades’ is insane. Your husband is o hero. I hope the cigarette burned that guy’s nuts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚. Me too but we didn’t stick around to find out. Seriously, it’s totally selfish and irresponsible what that guy did. But I would never have had the courage to do what my husband did. I was both terrified and proud.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This is great! And absolutely crazy that anyone would discard a cigarette in the midst of such a tinderbox. Good for your husband, and the other guy deserves to be locked up if you ask me!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A beautifully descriptive reminder of the dangers of wildfires, as illustrated on Table Mountain this morning. Hats off to your brave husband. He did absolutely the right thing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks. He’s certainly not afraid to do what he knows is right. Recently he told me of a (less dangerous) incident involving some young girls who threw litter out of their car right near him. It was a cup of soft drink (perhaps from a reputed fast food chain, I don’t know). As per the poem, he just picked it up and threw it back in again. The girl was cranky because it spilled on her clothes. Ooops.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I loved this so much. I especially applaud the image of the sun scrunching us under its boot……..I worry about the crunchy dry grass. Here in western Canada, the wildfires have already begun. In April. I cant STAND the beefy guy throwing his butt out the window, loved the husband throwing it back in…..and the “haring like silly teenagers”. This was a delight to read. So glad you linked it at earthweal. Hope you keep coming back.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Utterly wonderful poem!
    I can’t believe someone threw a cigarette out a window that summer… he deserved a lot worse than just having it thrown back in at him.
    I do spit cherry pits out the window though, once I’m out of Canberra and away from other cars. πŸ˜€ It’s particularly challenging now that my window has stopped working so I have to spit them across the width of the car and out the passenger side. My husband has learned not to lean forward if he’s in the car with me at the same time as a bag of cherries.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just another reason to dislike smokers. Even if they toss them down and scrunch them with their shoes, they still leave them littering the streets. But most just toss them and go on their merry way. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

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