One thing I like is fire. I like how it wants you to smell like what you cook. I like the smell and like the song it hums darkening brats or marshmallows, the song the beans and meats sing. I am changing sings the world. I have the funniest story about how I am growing as a person, I tell the fire. It does not laugh, not like we laugh. Is it a mean-spirited thing? No, but it must change the log or the sky if lit from a cannon. It is a hard thing, changing the whole sky. It is hard thing bursting into this life. It makes little paratroopers, I think, watching it with my sister and her fiancé and the family she’ll join in the suburbs of Chicago. That is how I know you are not like us, I tell the fire. Because what you touch loves you. What you touch are budding leaves or fully budded brambles or dried apples dead in the snow. Now I am just listing for you the things Liz and I saw hiking out of the gorge like our friend hadn’t just overdosed on Sudafed and alcohol. Like our friend wasn’t going to live as himself ever again. The apples were like animal droppings and when I woke in the car, blue graves dug in the sky. The earth was wet and deer moved like commandos through the snow. As if their hooves could be air. As if they could leave no trace at all.
Some Notes on Arson
Before the train depot became the law offices of Hemphill and McClure, it was a train depot. Then an abandoned train depot. Then the county crews tore out the train tracks, clear cut the path which didn’t want to be a path after a while, and, bam, bike trail. And, bam, the train depot became a brewery for the out-of-town element. The waiters lived in Des Moines. The restaurant served duck and burgers with quail eggs and the summer was so sick, so sick with tree rot that Chris burned down the portable school. On the site of the old portable the school built another portable and Chris went to Juvie. Chris should scare you. It should scare you that a kid like that could burn another person in their sleep. I could hear laughter when I listened to the wind sniping the reeds beside the gulch where the worst element hid their cigarettes, kids like Chris who hated the world out there which, I admit, did not love them much in return. The next winter, the bank foreclosed on the restaurant and let it go back to what it was and let the fancy waiters find work in Des Moines. The county let Chris move home. Because he is different now, they said. But I know how people circle like birds looking for lost nests. This world scares me so badly some times that I need to take you in my arms under this white-hot sun. I don’t want you to understand me the way I understand me. You say trains, and I think quail. Someone lights a cigarette, and I see foxes cutting hunger through the trees.