Contextualizing a Forest Fire Continually Burning

after Erika Meitner's "Outside the Frame"

Outside the frame a toppled tree, a burning telephone pole, our wish to call our father who is reading headlines drinking coffee, steam rising from the rim to his face, a pleasant heat. Outside the frame melting asphalt, a sea of tar, friction and tires, a bus sinks into the road’s dark bed before pushing off for the day’s commute. Outside the frame particulate matter helixed in a window’s light, a wheezing refrigerator in an apartment that won’t cool down, a son teaching his mother what wet bulb temperatures are before she changes the subject to describe a new mask for sleep apnea. Outside the frame troubled sleep and orange skies. Outside the frame, brunch across from the park where children are playing, the stacking of spoons, cream gyres in refilled cups of coffee. Outside the frame a television’s light flickers against our walls, tourists running toward waves, aerial views of refugees carpeting boat decks until we are floating above flames to a panorama of char and embers, a ragged orange line across the horizon and we rise to the smoke’s dim curtain, the white sun that burns behind it and we lift higher still, through the thermosphere, sunset-singed clouds, contrails drawing new borders into a map of loss as we catch the sun along the earth’s curve and we realize all this time we’ve been burning together.

Jared Beloff

Jared Beloff is the author of WHO WILL CRADLE YOUR HEAD (ELJ Editions, 2023). He is the editor of the Marvel inspired poetry anthology, Marvelous Verses (Daily Drunk, 2021) and has been a peer-reviewer for Whale Road Review since 2021. His work can be found at Night Heron Barks, Baltimore Review, River Mouth Review, The Shore, Contrary Magazine and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @Read_Instead and his website He is a teacher who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters.

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