Two Poems by Jefferson J. W. Wayne


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,

was gone

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.



The flames

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.

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