Last night, as I slipped through the darkness to my crying son

I was stopped, in the hallway

between our bedroom and theirs,

By the acrid smell of burnt electricity.

I peered in at my daughter, sleeping peacefully

And walked in for my son, fussing sleepily.

My heart squeezed with fear.


I comforted and nursed my son

Then crawled under the blankets.

But sleep would not come.

Fiery, terrifying images crowded my mind

Stealing my sleep, filching my peace.


The thought of that smell,

Hanging like an ominous curtain between my children and me

Exposed the bare wires of my deepest fears,

Those consuming, burning fears that

Choke me with the smoky haze of what ifs.


At dawn we woke up, safe,

And I spent the morning hours on my deck

With my husband and children

Breathing in the rain-washed air, listening to the rustle of leaves,

Sipping coffee and reading poetry

As if I had nothing better to do.

Because really, I didn’t.

3 thoughts on “

  1. Jill says:

    I’m not a poet
    And I know it.

    (I’m oh, so clever and witty, though, aren’t I?)

    I’ve been reading a lot of poetry lately, and the problem with me reading a lot of poetry is that I start to think in poetic line (For example, As I dip my hands / in the sink of soapy water….). It’s sort of maddening. Anyway, I don’t usually write poetry, b/c I know I’m not very good at it. I’m much better sticking with prose. However, this poem is basically prose anyway.

  2. I liked it!

    And I love your dish-washing poem. 🙂

  3. karmenl says:

    Remember the line from The Princess Bride…? “No more rhymes, I mean it.” And then Andre the Giant answers back, “Anybody want a peanut?”

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