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The Geography of Fire - poetry by Catherine Shim

I am waiting for you to emerge from this house.

Cloudy smoke billows from its window,

an acrid scent of charred plastic permeating the air.

A siren blares through the silence.

I skim through folds of memory,

finding where you are-

under the dusty shelf where you fall asleep,

whilst playing with blocks battered by time.

Sparks burst from the corner

where our rocking chairs sway;

wailing cries crawl up from my dry throat

that I struggle to shut.

Banging fists. Rushed footsteps.

Perhaps it is my desperate prayers

that echo against the building

and ring in the skies.

I am waiting for you

outside these skeletal remains,

the fire’s new nest -

while nails dig into my fingers

piercing their bones.


Catherine Shim is a rising high school senior currently living in the Philippines. Writing is a way for her to record the fleeting moments in time as well as exploring the connections between humanity and the environment. She loves finding good food wherever she goes and believes that socks are the essence of fashion. Her past works have been published in K'in Literary Journal and featured in the 2020 Austin International Poetry Festival Youth Anthology. 

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