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Poetry Friday: Remembering 'The Nineteen'

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This week marks five years since 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots were killed fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire. In today’s Poetry Friday segment, KNAU listener Anthony Flesch honors the fallen crew with his poem “The Nineteen.”

"The Nineteen" by Anthony Flesch

After the nineteen

firefighters

died doing

their hotshot jobs,

the smoke from

the fire that killed them

hung over our town

all day –

smoke from a funeral

pyre.

It was a visual

dirge,

and the urge

to weep was

never far,

rising up into

my throat again, and again

through the day.

I couldn’t stop myself

from trying to

imagine the scene,

and each time

the horror of it

engulfed me.

Let it burn, I say,

let our houses burn,

and our pictures,

and our passports.

Let them all burn

lest we burn more

shining sons. 

Poetry Friday is produced by KNAU’s Gillian Ferris. If you’d like to read a published poem, or submit an original work for consideration, drop an email to Gillian at gillian.ferris@nau.edu.

Gillian came to KNAU in 2001 as a freelance reporter. Her first story won an Arizona Associated Press Award. Since then, Gillian has won more than a dozen Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting, writing, editing and documentary work. She served as KNAU’s local Morning Edition anchor for many years before becoming News Director and Managing editor in 2013. When she’s not working, Gillian likes to spend time in the natural world with her dog, Gertie. She is an avid hiker, skier, swimmer, and reader.
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