fire lane.

Three Chimneys parking lot, Greenhill School, April 27,2022
Every few summers
right before the kids return,
the cones & ropes come out
directing traffic somewhere else.

There's a potbellied trailer
spattered & smoking, surrounded
by men in fluorescent vests
& tarred steel toed boots.

The asphalt goes down
thick & clean, the oily heat 
rainbowing & distorting 
the new view.

Then a slower process,
stencils & block letters, 
striping & labeling: 
students & faculty,
visitors & diagonally reserved spots 
we hope never to need,
a reminder of the everyday horrors
that happen somewhere else. 
Years later the colors return
to the earth, as we all must.
Cracked & bubbled, a broad mottled stripe
thrown into relief by sun & time.

The lines, faded & crumbling,
can still keep us safe. 
We remember
where we belong. 

On April 27, I sent my students outside with their phones to return with photos of different colors. This is inspired by a color I found.

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