Sunday, July 13, 2008


Like Don Quixote

You must expect some disasters.
At some point

there will be a fire.
It will eat the kitchen cabinets

stretch its long tongue to the ceiling
spit black gas into the air.

At first you will stand in wonder
you will see faces in the flames

bright eyes burning. Then you will
remember the children

their cheeks flushed with fear
their voices squeals now, high-

pitched and feverish.
You will be glad

it is only a fire. You will
be glad when no one gets hurt.

And once the painters come
to white-wash the ceiling

you will forget it ever happened.
But next time you sit down to write

sparks will fly
from your fingers.

- Irene Latham

This poem was inspired by an actual fire in my kitchen. I was talking on the phone and had closed my bedroom door for just a moment to keep out the kid-noise when they started screaming even louder. I thought I heard "fire" in there, but I seriously thought they were just being rowdy. Then I smelled smoke.

Turned out I had left a skillet with grease still in it on the stove then turned on the wrong burner to boil water for macaroni and cheese. The grease caught fire, and by the time I got into the kitchen, the microwave above the stove was melting. Scary.

"If you are scared, embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take chances,”

- Julia Soul

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness Irene,

    How scary is that?!?!? Great poem, but thank God everything turned out okay.



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