The Bush House Fire

I don’t remember ever actually seeing the flames that appear in my photos.
My memory is clear though
of the speed
of the rolling
of that smoke
over roof and bracket
its mad, fast turning orange to black.

Nobody died in the Bush House fire,
but I can't wash the cinders off my car
or reset my clocks from when the power went out.
From my bedroom window I keep a check on the pile,
like our town's own ground zero, bent pipes poking out from bricks and wood still
burning. The smell comforts like bread, stuck in my clothes, my pillows.

The last time I saw my Grandma we were silly-dizzy in the lilac scent from
huge bouquets at the Mother’s Day Buffet.
I first met Julia and David at Snitzels,
around a wooden table, I learned she would have a baby.
My husband and I had our wedding dinner in the room with puffy white clouds
painted on a too blue ceiling.
We tried to stay in a room upstairs that night.
I didn’t mind that lights switched on and off by themselves, but the bed
sank so low to springs that we walked the block back home in moonlight.

It's not the
se memories that ache, but missing the facade.
- that arrangement of bricks
Bricks broken by rows of tall thin windows, at night lit with electric candles.
Bricks that blocked my view of Half-moon Hill in the gold light of morning,
Bricks painted a fleshy cream color, I was never sure was quite right.

- by Mary Vollero
February 10, 2006

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