I. My Fire
fire burning the attic.
I throw my belongings out the window,
trying to save them.
The real fire burned the attic down
while I was away for the summer
and wasn’t there to save anything.
The cassette tapes of The Who
melted down to doll-sized miniatures
on a shoe-box lid,
not destroyed but shrunk.
II. Your Fire
is alive in you still.
You tell the story in perfect recall:
burning the ranch for miles,
your windshield, melted in the heat.
You wake sweating in the night,
the nightmares bringing you back to that past,
no way to erase it, no way to go back.
That moment when your father ran
through the flames to save the ranch,
and you ran in the other direction for your life,
you uttered your first prayer for preservation.
III. The Poet’s Fire
There’s a poet we love
who read at a winery.
She said, “Fire changes everything
it touches.” A candle glowed
on each oak barrel aging
thousands of gallons of wine –
Zinfandel, I like to think,
because those grapes are yours,
because that wine’s flowed
in your family for a century,
because if you ever were to drink again,
you’d drink for Zinfandel.
IV. Our Fire
I can’t predict the future.
You can’t forget the past.
We are watching the logs burn
in the fireplace. If we sleep,
our faces pressed together,
will we be each other’s dream?
The flames flicker.