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.