Tag Archives: form

November hymnal (26) / Lines written while waiting to hear about a house fire

November hymnal (26) / Lines written while waiting to hear about a house fire

Outside in the dark there was a picture the shape of a window
Projected on the house next door. Within the frame a slow

Motion dancing of slender orange and shadow
Like plants swaying at the bottom of the ocean.

Still not fully awake, maybe like a deep sea diver gesturing
In slow motion through the stuff of sleep, I got up knowing

The light was a projection from my daughters’ room.
I floated down the hall, my feet were still fins, awareness

Being fed to me by a tank strapped to my back.
I reached the doorway and saw the lamp on fire

Between their beds on the night table. It twisted like
An orange octopus rising up but not moving in the utter

Silence of two girls sleeping without knowledge of
Death. That’s when my mind scrambled onto land.

I woke them and whispered them out of the room
To their mother. Pulled the night table away from the curtain

Kicked the cord from the socket. I froze
Staring at it for a second, still a small thing that

Swerved as if it had a right to exist
And grow to the size of a house.

Then I had a bucket in my hand and
That’s when I drowned it. Then I ran

To the bathroom and filled the bucket again
And a few times more then it was a bucket of black

Smoke and I was standing in water I could hear
Myself cough as if under the surface and my family was on the porch

Below and it was winter and the cold air surged
Up the stairs to the bedroom as I opened the windows

Like a genie ready to grant a wish of burning
Free of form like a color dancing from a magic lamp