The Farmhouse Fire Recalled Their vigil was roadside throughout, as the fire fed fire, and rose into bedrooms and closets, and thoughts were consumed with the pictures and clothes set ablaze. The sounds scrambled and mixed in the small lights subsuming the stars, as the leaf fires flashed in the gutters. The bubbling pantry jars of tomatoes were exploding in bursts of extravagant red, as the farm house shuddered and scattered in sparks where they stood, and a forlorn alarm rose and fell on the turned over earth. Then came shouts of the salvaging sons as they dragged the piano down steps, while an awkward tune played for them. Once, some 50 years on, it re-sounded when dragged to the pile past repair. And again when, at Mass, a note struck and a hand took a hand in despair at a new loss. And when, past their time, in small rooms, in the screech of a hinge how the tables and teacups crashed all over again, and a twinge of recall gave new fire to the night, and the night came, and once more became a canvas of stars sparking round the tomato red faces it framed. They kept quiet vigil throughout. Thoughts had turned to new rooms to be built, and already a trip to the bank, when a box and its carnival quilt of old rags flared at the attic, and stoked the consumption grown tall in the deepening groan of the fissure, eyes affixed and made round in their thrall to the new life birthing above them, in the cracked red and crackling traces of timber sparks spiraling skyward, and a trunk letting go the old faces. The moaning photos rolled like scrolls their smoky dead, into wisps of memory ahead, in all their cacophonous places.
Brian Gavin is a retired distribution manager. His poetry has appeared in The Road Not Taken, Peninsula Poets, Form in Formless Times, Snakeskin, and Potcake Chapbooks. He recently completed his first collection, ‘Burial Grounds’. He lives in Lakeport Michigan with his wife Karen.