local_library Regarding Fire

by Terri Drake

Published in Issue No. 297 ~ February, 2022

I. My Fire



My dream:

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:


set deliberately,

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.

account_box More About

Terri Drake is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her poetry collection, "At the Seams" was published by Bear Star Press. She has a chapbook forthcoming, “Regarding Us,” from Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared or have been accepted for publication in Crab Creek Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Poets Reading the New, Quarry West, Perihelion, Heartwood Literary Magazine, and Open: Journal of Art and Letters, among others. She is a practicing psychoanalyst living in Santa Cruz, California.