God is not a refiner’ fire
or any other kind of fire – surely not
any holy fire.
God is not in the Holy Fire,
not in the Mendocino Complex Fire,
or the Carr Fire,
not in the Ferguson Fire
that has burned
in Yosemite National Park,
not in the River Fire, South Fire, Alisa Fire,
Wood Canyon Fire, the fires
in Goleta, Cajon Pass, Agua Dulce.
God is with those who go through fire,
evacuating so they do not risk
the lives of others.
God is with those who are
fighting the fires —
digging, cutting trees,
burning land bare to keep sparks
from crossing roads,
flying small planes into danger
to spray flame retardant
on families’ homes.
And God is with those working
our abuse of the climate
of God’s good earth.
So do not call down Holy Spirit as fire,
but dove, miracle of tongues,
breeze that turns the flames away.
Do not send your young acolytes
to light the wicks of candles –
send them to pour a bowl of water
for the people of California.