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The skies are sick, a feverish, jaundiced gray,
malodorous with foul effluvia
dissembling skyline and the light of day—
crepuscular, infernal opera.

The pines, our lofty but immobile kin,
more vincible by axe, plague, wind, and fire,
succumb like straw to hot, malicious jinn,
limbs, trunks consumed, an insult to desire,

as ashes, smoke, and orange retardant rise
from burning woodlands, billow up, then drift,
and flames, the essence of the enterprise,
break out and climb as wind directions shift.

Assailed by fire, flooded, shaken, whirled
by tourbillion or hurricane, we must
confront in time this elemental world—
and definitely when we turn to dust.

If, at the finish, fire, not ice, prevails,
the whole earth vaporized in gaseous blaze,
the trees, expiring, will recall old tales—
sunsets of bile, apocalyptic haze.