1. Picture of a Burned-Out House
You can still see what it looked like before the fire.
You can still see the outline where it seared the sky.
That’s the slope of the roof
Those were the kitchen chairs
There was where the walls met
These were the stairs
Here is where you lived
and I can still see you in it, too:
This is your burnt outline
Like a police chalking of a body
Like your shadow melted to the wall
This was the place before it happened.
I could give a tour of this wreckage.
Look at this mess.
Watch where you step— the nails survived the fire
spite solidified, tetanus and rust
proof that there isn’t a god and you were wrong all along.
This was where the firetrucks sat and screamed
and threw up their hands at a job badly done.
This is a photograph of the fire
and here is another and another and another and
All the photos you had of the house when it was whole
were in the house and eaten whole.
This is where you kept the photos. This is the fire that ate them.
So take this one instead.
Remember your house with its hair on fire.
Remember the paint blistering.
And all those little things you loved, so much, as only ash against an orange sky.