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"Words' Worth" Poetry Readings

Poets at the Culture, Arts, and Parks Committee of the Seattle City Council.

A Loose Connection I Should Have Fixed by Paula Gilovich

When the house burned down last week
the first thing I thought was
this is a good time
to get out.

I picture it,
the fire as a common part of the house
as real to me as
the refrigerator,
our grandfather clock.

I light small fires now
as experiments.
I burn torn envelopes, loose pages
from an old book.
And it always happens the exact
same way. What is, once was, is
.nothing.

I hope all that is pretty is left.
That a fireman stepping on ashed furniture
finds something white,
a silk curtain, maybe
one of my dishes.
The sewing machine, I've heard,
is still there, okay, still sitting in
my workroom. I don't want it.
I want it there so
whoever doesn't know me, the fireman maybe
can see come simplicity about all of it.
Maybe someone will notice what I did
when I wasn't busy, will know there was something
small to distract me.

I had know the wiring needed to be taped. And when I came home
I stood on the loose rocks of our driveway thinking
I should have taken care of that.
What have I not done, not done?
One pain regards another
I left my briefcase on the gravel
and went to the back door.
The fire wasn't there yet.
I got the key from the door frame and went inside the sun room.
Like a hot day in late August.
I stared through the window of the next door
took the hammer from the wall pin
and broke the window.
My eyes burned from
the smoke and the fire took the kitchen.

This page was last updated: January 8, 2000
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