Trapped every evening by cold,
the word “family” does not fit.
The unspoken machinery of the house
flares. Our fireplace rumbles,
a contained thunder.
Already a ritual. I know how
to run into the yard and see
the dashing orange sparks we
send up into the night.
Mother and myself, dry tinder
to his anger.
“The chimney’s on fire”—a plaint,
an Autumn cry.
Something wonderful and unstoppable,
as though the house went wild.
At the hearth he separates the coals,
fazed; there is no-one to blame.
The sky accepts the sparks
I dare to imagine against the black.