Levels of Danger

Driving with you through a national park,
I saw a sign.
With colors faded and dial missing,
It proclaimed, “Today’s Fire Danger.”
Did you see it too?

Its faded rainbow pie pieces
Were still there ready to be served to us
With its missing pie server dial,
And my tongue’s memory tasted again
Their former flavor-filled messages.

The green pie piece, delectable minty cream,
Is ready to declare that the fire danger is low,
That today is a day with higher humidity
And damp wood which releases its energy slowly,
When the forest is too busy for fire’s kisses.

The blue pie piece with its cardamom blueberry savor
Is waiting to declare there is moderate danger.
Today, fire’s accidental touches and deliberate caresses
Awaken forest’s sensation,
But not her passion.

The yellow pie piece, lemon meringue heat-gilded,
Is weeping to cry out that there is high danger.
Fire is very aroused, and forest is very interested.
And flames will rush to meet the need.
The tiniest spark will awaken a passionate blaze.

The orange pie piece, pumpkin made cinnamon-hot,
Is quivering to yell, “Be very, very careful.”
Forest’s energy is aroused and reaching for release,
Desire has awakened for the consummation,
Of an orgasmic conflagration.

Finally, the red pie piece, hot pepper and blackberry,
Is waving its arms to scream, “You’re past the point of careful.”
Now you need Lady Luck or Mother Nature or Providence
A super hero prevention
To avert a super-spreader forest fire orgy.

Those weeks ago, I saw the pie inert and faded
Vibrating only with memory’s energy.
Our phones now bake their old flavors,
And wrap them in portable packages
An app pie easy to slip into a picnic basket.

The phone’s flavor message is so small
So convenient and unobtrusive,
That I never opened it, never tasted it.
I wasn’t lighting a fire on our drive through the park.
Our picnic food was car temperature and prepackaged.

But the faded pie sign was there
Obtrusively greeting me as I entered the park,
Reminding me that I do not live this world alone.
Nature and careless guests may serve fires at their picnics,
And that smoky flavor can still reach out to consume me.

That evocative sign has shadowed me since,
For I tasted myself in the sign.
My tongue salivates with memories of serving pie pieces,
Of fiery orange arousal: “Beware of rapacious abuse!
The vulnerable are in danger of conflagration!”

But you have always been safe in your flameproofed house,
So you serve yourself a piece of blue pie
And savor its mild spice and playful caresses.
Then you say, “It’s not so spicy as you said,
Why are you always so worried?”

And you, who love to gaze into the heart of the fire,
Go and sit beside the fire of abuse
While I incinerate at its very heart.
There you relax and chat with my abuser
As he roasts me alive before your eyes.

You who have declared your love for me,
You who have declared your friendship for me,
You who have declared ministerial concern for me,
You who have declared legal protectiveness of me,
You lounge, eating your pie, absently watching me burn.

You, who were protected from the flames,
Refused to taste my pie, baked in the heat of my pain,
You lived in your environmentally-controlled house
And denied the truth of my pie,
That the world outside your door is in flames.

Instead you say, “You have experienced the flames of abuse
So now you think everything is fiery abuse.”
But you never realize that your own experience shaped your belief.
You, who have always been safe from the flames,
Think everyone could be safe from that raging fire if they tried.

I sit like that sign in the park
Colored message faded from the ever-present heat
As you drive past in your air-conditioned 4-wheel drive,
Never tasting the savory memory of my freshly baked warning,
Never unwrapping your phone’s prepackaged app pie.

And you say to me, “You just want everything perfect.
You are never satisfied with your own pie.
Why do you want me to taste your pie?
Why do you want a slice of my safer pie?
Just eat what Divinity served you.”

This entry was posted in poems. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *