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1 poem

by Brenda Iijima

Brenda Iijima’s involvements occur at the intersections and mutations of poetry, research movement, animal studies, ecological sociology, and submerged histories. She is the author of seven full-length collections of poetry and numerous chapbooks and artist’s books. Her most recent book, Remembering Animals, was published by Nightboat Books in 2016. She is the editor of the eco language reader (Nightboat Books and PP@YYL) and of Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, located in Brooklyn, NY (


All fires are futuristic

From fueling fire’s readiness


Fires breathe in oxygen like

Sentient beings, fire is sentience


A preponderance of flare

Tinder prepares


A human dwelling is a star

Fueled by past lives


A star is a preponderance of fuel,

As is fire


Wittingly or unwittingly

Fire as inquisitor never rests


Fire is the indicator

Fire is evidence

Fire removes the clues


Drain the lake

Cool the image

Store the sentiment with fire


I do not want to die again

Forest guardians killed



Methane, soot and HFC’s

Slash and burn

Too big to put out

The core is molten

You know the center is

Fiery metal


Excess of fire

eventuates rock

The house was a star

A fueled warm interior


Paradise was a star


Everything we know

Is burning

Funerary overload

Commemoration of the dead


No one dares placate

The fire


The sun is rampaging


How this actually happens:

Combustion reaction at ignition temperature

Char: nearly pure carbon

Ash: unburnable materials


Chemical reactions in fire

Are self-perpetuating

Fire is sensitive to pressure


Seeds pop

A future opens as a tendril

Where is the lake of rain to cure the raze?

The lake of rain is a fever dream moist and soft

Real lakes are hot and melting

Wetness gasses off in plumes


A ceremonial dance to honor fire


Necessary psychic intervention

A jackal-headed effigy with intense eyes

Give your young, give your forests, give your life

She went over to the owl

And consulted him


The town’s ruination was an instruction


Our imagination, on fire


He instructs you to melt into reality

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