We stood on the edge of the divided line
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our toes curled under burnt pajama frills
we held our bundled bodies close to the heat
that expanded from the burning building.
A fireman escaped the cover of flames
ran on his last shaken breath.
He took a knee to the curb and held his chest
while his buddy held back stricken residents.
His charred helmet fell to the wet pavement,
and ripples of smoke rose from his jacket.
I reached for his shoulder, and he saw me.
Questions in my head were apparent in my eyes
and his investigation told us what was left behind.
His words horrified our senses like the scent of roasted flesh,
and by the time I understood what he said
my wife wilted into tears and hid her head.
He said the explosion in the kitchen
sent an extreme degree of heat evenly throughout
the house, hot enough to melt off your skin.
Everywhere he searched, the fireman left
charcoal footprints like a decor in hell,
that matched the ignited drapes and boiling fish tank.
Local experts zoned the house "bomber nil."
He said they found the stove severed,
and the enemy slithered without warning.
While everyone slept, the natural poison
seeped into the carpet, and fueled a dormant accident.
The fire spread upstairs leaving heat fused
to paper-thin walls, peeled floral patterns
and a collection of shattered china.
The fireman recalled each step of the way,
and we could feel the heat rising up our sides,
His words guided us up our fissured staircase.
He didn't know the tenants or rooms
but was able to tell what was left behind.
The words that I strove to comfort my wife
were lodged in my throat and I couldn't speak.
My wife caught me as I collapsed under strain,
I heard the words from the fireman
but the story no longer made sense to me.
What I didn't want, I needed to hear.
We raised enough love in this world,
so we wouldn’t have to grieve this much.
My wife joined me in the shadows of life.
We could feel the coldness of death around us
that seemed to shield us from the heat
that still rose from the house.
We saw the paramedics roll a cart past our stare,
tears that didn’t vaporize were caught
in the crispy strands of our daughter’s hair.
I whispered words into my wife’s ear.
Everything was going to be fine.
The thought of leaving her behind
poisoned my eyes like I sensed hot nails
rushing through my veins. I felt spun backwards.
My wife cracked and Niagara fell
I plastered my heart to hold her together.
We were cornered in the moment and panicked.
Why didn't we stop and check her room
and why did she stay when the explosion grew?
We sat on the divided line and watched
curious bystanders crowd with eager eyes,
I kissed my wife and held her pale hands.
My fingers were slightly longer than hers
and twice as dirty. She knew the weight our daughter pulled
and the social pain she brought in.
But now my hands were bare, broken in regretting
the chance we never took.
I noticed the stars punctured to the night sky,
loitering faces glowing in a sea of bright orange
the mood was set for the perfect team coverage.
We spot the herd of reporters gathering at the scene,
as no one could ask for a better backdrop.
We looked out at the horizon while the anchor dropped her line.
Like a spotlight for her sad voice to the world,
she filled necessary air time to remind everyone
what to do in case of a fire.
Open and read the pages of my DarkerMind
where one's style of writing comes from deep within.
I don't plan to change the world; just trying to leave my mark.