After the Fires

While we mountain residents chat on the ashen crown, a child dreamily circles a damaged tree nearby. She stops and announces that the tree, unlike Salim, her war veteran neighbour, doesn’t have to worry about missing limbs because, ‘Who knows how many there were before?’ The adults laugh and then hush, subdued by the pace of nature’s rejuvenation. A scribbly gum is shedding its damaged exterior to reveal an intricate scripting of new bark. Green shoots break free of the black earth at our feet. I amble away and glance towards the city, a distant mirage. I whisper a soft prayer of thanks. 

James Gering’s poetry and fiction have appeared in many literary journals including Rattle, San Pedro River Review and Rockvale Review. He teaches English at the University of Sydney in Australia. Away from work he revels in nature – climbing, canyoning and running trails in the pristine Blue Mountains. He welcomes visitors at his website, www.jamesgering.com

See more of his work in 8.3 and 8.3 again