Brian Gavin

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.