Monday, April 2, 2007

As She Has Been Taught

Mekeel McBride (b. 1950)

The building, a tall one, is on fire again.
On the twenty-first floor, she,
dressed in smoky silks,
settles in to watch.
Below, she can see enameled firetrucks
roaring down the streets
no wider than the ruler on her desk.

She wonders how they think they'll stop the fire
with their tiny hoses
and matchstick ladders.
Watching her building shadowed on the next
she sees the roof's on fire,
the silhouette of it
fanned into flames

that almost look
like dancers
twining topsy-turvy in a dark field.
She feels safe, feels warm
in the celluloid flames that are,
after all, only the red silks
her sleeping mind has wrapped around her.

But the rescue squad
of volunteer pharmacists,
and paper-pale priests
kicks down the door, helps her
through the iridescent halls
into blackened streets
where she is blanketed
by the ladies auxiliary.

Even though the alarm
has been silenced, they slip her
into the colorless cradle of amnesia
while her lover, his arms scalded
by a great bouquet of crimson roses,
wanders dully
through the water-ruined rooms.

No comments: