To say it was a house fire is too strong, but what else
do you call a fire in your house? A curtain and magazine-subscription fire
does not ring the same. A narrowly-missed disaster. A blessing.
Regardless, it’s not about the fire.
The vase of Valentines roses was, if not a life-saver, then
at least helped save face. No one, but us, knew of the fire;
not the resting children, not the weary grandparents.
The additional, half-full glass of water helped kill the flames.
You rushed in, tall, pragmatic, and sturdy, and finished the job: cut the curtains
down, pulled the dresser out, to catch any embers we hadn’t seen.
We grabbed towels and drenched knick-knacks and dried and blotted the evidence away.
“Go take a shower,” you told me, when I couldn’t
find the newspaper or stop mumbling.
I wasn’t sure, but the look on your face said I should be.
After I rubbed on lotion, set my body and mind together, after I tickled your back,
after I reluctantly pulled on clothes, after you turned to kiss me, after your breathe rushed
in my ear, after I pulled the covers over your head, I again called your name.
I’d been burning for days, days of child rearing, days of tense negotiations,
against a warped, rushing time pushing us into logistical
bondage I’ve never wanted more I’ve never wanted more easily to accept the
process of building and putting out fires than with you.
You know exactly how to love a woman when the world is on fire.
After I said I was disassociating, flying
away, you told me to come back down, called me a kite, said “I got you.”
Saying how I felt was confessional, before, mysteriously I was met with staring,
chuckling. Now, if I say, “honey, I feel bad I set the curtains on fire,”
you retrieve a bottle of lavender-scented fabric-spray from your car,
tell me to take a shower, and hold me.