ASLEEP IN A CONVECTION OVEN
We took up the carpet;
dank and stale from years of cigarette smoke
revealing bare boards
with cracks so large they shown
the cool Earth underneath.
Once the sheet rock,
which naively held
graffitied epithets of our youth,
we found only two by fours and siding.
Doors were hollow wood
and the roof was caving in.
An ice box in the winter,
in the summer,
a convection oven.
A frame of bones that raised us,
And it so pained our hearts that day to break them.
from where we stood
looked as if they might engulf the Earth.
Thousands of tiny lights flickered and shimmered
Orange and yellow,
Pink and white in the foreground,
And the air appeared to ripple
Akin to a desert mirage in an old cartoon.
Carbon emissions related to the inferno lead the sky to react as if it were breathing and pulsing before us.
Some days later the evening news would report three lives lost.
Standing there that night I would have guessed more.
Heat could be felt
Even as far away as we were,
And the grandeur of the blaze pained our eyes,
Yet still we remained steadfast
Watching as mans dependence wrought more death upon the world,
It’s hands enveloping the night ‘til the Sun led us home and to bed,
Three men falling in its magnificence.
Jefferson J. W. Wayne is an industrial firefighter, process operator and father of two boys working on the Houston, Texas ship channel. He was most recently published in Mojave Heart Review.
Photograph by Jefferson J. W. Wayne.