There Should be Fire

by Julie Brooks Barbour

It smells like fire in the study
my daughter claims

though this “fire” is only
the gas heat radiating
through pipes in the walls

because of the sudden chill outside,
the bitter wind arriving with rain,
cold that burrows to the bone.

There is no fire in the study,
though I imagine the pages of books
turning to ash, brittle and black,

that corner of the house charred.
There is no fire in the study.

I have not sat there for weeks, pulled away
from passion, blaming work and duty,
but there should be a fire in the study

and it should blaze.
Flames should burst the window panes,

lick the siding. There should be a fire
so strong the whole neighborhood,
the whole town would see the smoke

rising skyward, and sirens would greet it.
Sirens would scream its name.

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Julie Brooks Barbour’s chapbook, Come To Me and Drink, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2012. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Waccamaw, Kestrel, UCity Review, Diode, The Whistling Fire, and Bigger Than They Appear: Anthology of Very Short Poems.