Thanks again for checking out my blog. The poem, “Home Fires” appears on page 30 in the recently released edition of Fall Lines, Volume 5, 2018. I thank Cindi Boiter, Ray McManus, Kyle Petersen, and Tony Tallent for selecting and publishing this collection of poetry and prose. My poem was written a few months before Jerrye McElwee, Terrye’s mother passed away from complications due to late stage dementia. May she rest in peace.  Before she died, I was constantly thinking about how we came to be vital to each other. I was thinking about how lives collide together for reasons. The first version of “Home Fires” was titled “Bank Fire.” It had decent bones but Curtis Derrick’s advice and insight about giving it more air and a new title made this a much better poem and provided me an awareness of what I was trying to accomplish with this piece.  Eventually, I presented this poem to a workshop of poets, Al Black, Michael Murray, Kristine Hartvigsen, Jane Zenger, and Kelley Lannigan. Their gentle steering and validation proved invaluable to me as well.  It is a blessing to have such a supportive community of writers and poets in Columbia and beyond. I hope you enjoy my poem, “Home Fires.”
Home Fires
Fresh cut as kids,
we both were thrown
into the pits
of our home fires.
Under a blanket souvenir
from South-of-the-Border,
she hid in the family’s ’57 Chevy,
as her father, Dick,
pressed his snub-nose .38
against her mother’s temple,
while six-years-old, my buzz-cut head,
palmed by Don, my dear-ol’-dad,
smashed against the walls
of homely military housing.
Years later, therapeutically tipsy, we met.
I asked, deprived of oxygen till she answered—
“Do you have a car? Do you want to go out?”
First date—we sat cross-legged in a ballroom,
serenaded by the “Swimming Pool Qs,” our eyes
for each other like babbling brooks. In the wee hours,
we rushed to the train station diner for pancakes,
reading syrupy Westerns from a short stack
left on a ledge along the booth, swapping
passages. Bad guys all vanquished—
we flew open the doors of her Corolla—
our Conestoga. Each stuck out a leg to ease it
in reverse. A team, plodding backwards
out of blind canyons
to face the uncertain trail.
We finally kissed, gathered our limbs,
started to spark. Swore to hell
as lovers not to bank fire. And prayed
that a blazing hearth
would take us both to ash.