Thoughts on a Fire
I pick my feet through the bones of my burned out house.
I step over a melted lamp, its fixture fused by the heat
As it juts from the wreckage like a survivor’s limb
The twisted metal vaguely resembles
A limp human hand.
I perilously walk across the untouched steel bar that reinforced the floor
I approach the island of surviving floorboards.
There’s a fiendish groan.
My foot cracks through a weak spot.
There is a pile of blackened rubble.
I lift each charred board.
I excavate the reams of smoked gypsum
I unearth a cracked throne
Still gleaming white beneath the soot.
It had fallen into the kitchen when the second floor collapsed.
I unearth the stone basement steps.
There’s exploded cans of stewed tomato,
Cooked onto the stone,
Like paint with plenty of texture.
I descend into what was supposed to be the family room
We were going to build it someday,
Have a lounge and a foosball table,
Maybe a bar and dartboard.
Whenever I had got around to finishing the basement.
In the corner, our trail bikes have melted together.
The water heater, an exploded cigar.
The unused exercise equipment, a jungle of fused metal.
All mutated mementos and refused requiems.
Everything is still wet.
From when the fire fighters perfunctorily
extinguished the smoking heap.
Long razed before they even got onto the scene.
By the time the alarms went off,
the home fires were burnt out.
I have learned many things.
Never live in the country if you want adequate fire coverage.
Always remember your wedding anniversary
Always buy her flowers
And never, ever marry a woman
With a history of arson.