Arsonists

In summer, various fires break out on hills.
The yellow helicopter comes to douse
the flames with water scooped up from the sea.
It’s cheap and fast to stop a fire this way.
The salt, some say, may kill the trees for good.

Rumours abound. Some say it’s arsonists,
people who hope for drama in their lives.
Or builders hoping to unblock their plans
and build on land that’s marked as countryside.
Sometimes, it’s just a silly accident,
a cigarette that wasn’t quite stubbed out,
a spark triggered by an electric tool,
or empty bottles underneath the sun.

The only arsonist they caught round here
was out with friends hunting for UFOs,
marked his location with a naval flare
starting a major forest mountain fire.

Fiona Pitt-Kethley has published books of prose or poetry with Chatto & Windus, Abacus, Salt and others. She is also a freelance journalist and copywriter and has written for The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, The Telegraph, and London Review of Books and other publications. She lives with her family in Spain, in Cartagena on the edges of the Sierra Minera. One of her hobbies is collecting minerals and visiting old mines in this area.

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