The Blessing of Trees

By the time fires exploded south
to the city’s edge

we had already sealed the windows
and doors.

Breathing stenched air, we spilled

the last of the garden water
against the boles of our trees

calling their names:

            lilac, plum, dogwood,
cedar, sequoia, copper beech,

a final gesture, useless perhaps
but the names tasted sweet

inside our masks, innocent
as the words of a hymn

learned in childhood

            all things bright and beautiful
all creatures great and small

and we carried their names
with us on the highway to nowhere

as we walked into the years
without rain.