The thing about running into your house
after it has been on
fire is the amount of cinder and ash.
Something I didn’t know
was after the fire department puts all of the fire out,
the family goes back in.
I was afraid to go in-
-side. I thought the house
would collapse. The idea was to pick out
everything I wanted cleaned and put it on
“the pile.” Photo-albums, Baptism gowns, no-
tes from the war. All covered in ash.
I don’t remember what I picked, but I remember the ash
For some reason I open-
-ed my particle-board nightstand. No
valuables, but books, and a CD. How is
that I remember that it was a Rugrats Computer game lying on
a stack of Goosebumps books, but I can’t pick out
anything but the out-
line of an ash-
-free cd-shape on
my whole family, how is
it that no
one else knows,
no one else figured out
that my mother got everyone out of the house
and was so desperate for cash
that she went back in
and turned the iron
-thing was accidental. The en-
-tirety of my childhood smoked out
by sheets of ash.
Coming out of the house
That day I learned some things: When you clean ash out and when
you leave it in, when lies go on and up and build a house of lies to live in.
when to say “I love you” and when to say, “No Mom, I don’t”