further notes on fire


Invitation from My Father to Descend the Stairs Backward

The fire chief’s daughter
lifted her nightgown,
slid down the stairs
with one hand
over her mouth.

Slip out of bed,
drop to the floor.
to the landing.

The fire chief lit a wooden match,
set a cotton ball alight.
Smoke rose
when he blew it out
and his daughter bowed
to the detector’s shriek.

Dreams of flames
eating the walls,
tongue of fire
swallowing her whole.

The monster beneath her bed
never bothers with claws and teeth.

The fire chief’s daughter,
when the sirens blow,
makes deals with the God of fire:

let me knot my sheets
than the flames lick
and you can devour my home.


first draft, rough draft…

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