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Poetry #367
(published January 31, 2008)
A New York Fire
by Anthony Liccione
A building is burning
somewhere in New York,
and people are shuffling
about their business not a care-
the windows have blown out
flames are licking, kicking
the right side to crumble ash-
a courtroom is in process
the divorce papers have been
signed, hearts painted black-
coffee is being ordered where
this waitress always wants out,
the sky is lining gray smoke
sirens are ringing for the rush,
a hairdresser is giving a perm
the smell of singed hair in the air-
as father hugs his son goodbye
before he gets on the Greyhound
to become one of the few,
the proud, the Marine-
wondering if this will be
his last moment with him.

Summer is folding
its allergy blanket of flowers,
the geese will soon fly
strong rains is set for
September's forecast,
the building is hurt
being chiseled away,
hacked with axes,
ladder and liftbuckets
stretched to heaven,
the mouth-open windows
gushed with fire hydrant water.
A child is being slapped
for spilling his milk,
the sirens and flashing lights
stop her strikes for a moment,
before she returns to her misery.

A child is slumped in the arms
of a fireman pulled from the
wretched dismiss,
limp the breeze has gone,
in the trees between judgement
and chance, as devastation
points it finger at an upside
down man.
Stocks are being exchanged,
Wall Street has gone down
negative three percent,
while shadows are being kicked
out by Miss Liberty's flicker.

A man is taking the last
few drags from his cigarette,
quietly watching
the smoke rising in a twist
from the tip of his orange torch-
as a serpent's double-edged
tongue feeling for heat
flickering in out in out,
searching for a fearful heartbeat;
when the man drops his butt
to the ground and stomps his
shoe over the dying glow,
slightly turning his heel
left right left right,
he walks away from the ashes.

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