Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2023  Vol. 21  No.3
an online journal of literature and the arts
 print preview

The Fire

Lightning sets it blazing
for days—the prairie
fire outside Springfield
circling the city like
an army of demons

and herds of buffalo
run through the streets
in broad daylight now
tearing up the fences
as the pheasants holler

flying over the rooftops
at night when the stars
grow invisible for this
larger new light of flames
nearby and smoke fills

the drapes and everyone
smells of char even these
perfume bottles on Mary’s
dresser—the green and blue
ornate glass is coated with

a soot so dark and fine
it rests deep in the grooved
whorled fingerprints
at the small of her back
which he presses there

as she dresses and suddenly
thinking again—undresses
while the naked man kisses
her neck this morning
that is bright from the flames,

so bright only the clocks
know it is about midnight
actually and it doesn’t matter
for a little while longer if
night is day or the world burns.

return to top