Scenes from a Housefire Two: The Firemen Asked

Jane Cassady

 

 

Is there anything we can go in and get for you
before we board it up?
Before the window plywood
gets its eventual graffiti,
before you wash the clothes in Pine Sol
to get out the smell of smoke,
before a loving friend helps fold those clothes,
so specifically and kindly, even the underwear,
before you celebrate the fact
that your best line appeared on the news,
“They were screaming like in a David Lynch movie.”
Before you study the radio's standby light
to make sure it isn't a spark,
before you sit on the cafe porch
across from the house
and drink coffee
and eat salad with flowers in it,
before you meet your future wife
for a cigarette before poetry
on that same porch.
Before you walk by at night
and see the house haunted by a Bjork poster,
before you look through the roof and see the stars,
before you glance every day at the gravel
for seven or eight years after the house is gone
to see if there's something you left, a talisman,
before you lift up the back of your shirt
to show off your phoenix tattoo,
saying “This is before they were called tramp stamps”
and “I wanted to rise from the ashes.”


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Jane Cassady writes pop-culture horoscopes for The Legendary, Apiary and Critical Mass. Her poem, "In 1992, Almost Immediately, It Got Better" can be heard on Indiefeed:Performance Poetry. She writes a blog about happiness, love and pop-culture called The Serotonin Factory. She is the Slam Mistress of the Philadelphia Poetry Slam. Her poems have appeared in decomPThe Ballard Street Poetry JournalLavender Review, and other journals. She's performed at such venues as LouderArts in New York City, Valley Contemporary Poets in Los Angeles, and The Encyclopedia Show in Chicago.