I keep a bag packed in the corner of my room—
Flashlight, contacts, a change of clothes, my wallet, my passport—
All the things I might need if the dreaded email should be sent.
I keep a tab open on my laptop—
Malibu Alerts & Emergency Notifications—
And have Google at the ready so that every time I hear
The wail of sirens or the growl of helicopter blades in the sky,
I can search fires near me.
I’ve been sleeping with my phone sound switched on,
Just in case an emergency text should be received,
Telling me to evacuate and relocate to a safer place.
The last time the winds reached such angry velocities,
That is exactly what happened. Except this time, it’ll be
Different. Because this time I’ll be prepared.
So prepared, I’ll probably already be awake when the text
Or the email is sent, and I’ll probably catch it with the time stamp
sent 0 minutes ago.
So prepared, that when the day comes, it’ll already be a memory
Because I’ve imagined every second,
Every possible way things could go wrong.
The Santa Ana winds fuel my fear as much as they oxidize
The blazing brush, whipping up a hellish haze
That has already devoured my entire being.
Call it anxiety, call it paranoia—
I call it fire season in California.