Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2020  Vol. 19 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Inheritance of Fire

While Woody was out
looking for a sandwich
and a song or something,
his father lay down on the couch
to take a nap one afternoon
and his mother, Nora, felt
a roaring in her head, described
as a “mysterious nervous condition”
as she poured the kerosene.
That’s not what she suffered from.
It’s not a mystery. But in
that moment, the unknown storm
in her brain would roost
like a decision: light the match.
A thought that lingers, burns
in the back of my mind
the way fire works in the wood
inside a burning house—
how thoughts adore air and time
to roam in, as does fire:
on which end of the match
would you rather be?
And the real question, love:
this won’t happen here, to us—will it?  

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