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July 08, 2024

Childhood Fires

By Strider Marcus Jones

Childhood Fires

late afternoon
winter fingers
nomads in snow
numb knuckles and nails
on two boys
in scuffed shoes
and ripped coats
carrying four planks of wood
from condemned houses
down dark jitties
slipping on dog shit
into back yard
to make warm fires

early evening
dad cooking neck end stew
thick with potato dumplings and herbs
on top of bread soaked in gravy
i saw the hole in the ceiling
holding the foot that jumped off bunk beds
but dad didn't mind
he had just sawed the knob
off the banister
to get an old wardrobe upstairs
and made us a longbow and cricket bat
it was fun being poor
like other families

after dark
all sat down reading and talking
in candle light
with parents
silent to each other
our sudden laughter like sparks
glowing and fading
dancing in flames and wood smoke
unlike the children who died in a fire next door
then we played cards
and i called my dad a cunt
for trumping my king
but he let me keep the word

Article © Strider Marcus Jones. All rights reserved.
Published on 2021-01-18
Image(s) are public domain.
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