Michael Brosnan The 2River View, 8.4 (Summer 2004)

End of the Road

The house is on fire,
though they can't find flames or smoke,
only heat and the snap of wood.

In the yard, the setter yips and spins
and cowers
behind the shield of children.

Firemen hurry in and hurry out,
bearing photos, widgets, worn shoes,
vases of wilted flower arrangements.

I know the chief; he's the one
turning on the hose, squeezing the nozzle.
Steam rises in quick, hissy clouds.

You say you never imagined things
would get this way, as water soaks
the walls soft as flesh,

as windows begin to slither
over swollen ledges.
But things get any which way.

Consider that we already have three children
and a dog, and what were the odds?
Consider that we live in something

called a cul-de-sac, and that up above us,
night and day, meteors tumble,
attuned to some different sense of wonder.

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