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Audio and Video

Salmon Poetry

There Was a Fire

John Kavanagh

for Mette

As we waved the Kirby’s off 
and the world whitened
into the coldest winter for forty years
there was a fire in our house.

You turned into it and the children’s shouts,
fearlessly grabbing the spiked top
of a blazing Christmas tree,
sent fan winged golden angel flying,
bulb and bauble bouncing,
yanked through corridor and hall
to hurl the flaming blossom
into the star hardened night.

Then, only then, time to notice,
once children’s safety assured,
a pained throb in your right hand,
seared flesh shredded and dangling,
a bright raw plate of wound
stare back.

Waiting in Accident and Emergency,
peeled hand jammed into a bowl
of iced water, we ring in the new year
in mute and stunned handshakings
with another half dozen
of the bewildered and bloodied,
impatient to be seen and let go,
yet reluctant at the hour’s strike
in that odd place, to ignore the passing
of a century’s first decade.

Later, in the small hours, a chance 
to finally take stock – the new laid blanket of black
over everything, charcoal streaked walls,
half burned blinds swinging,
piano keys melted,
the precious oiled white oak floor
peppered black, by a hot missiled blizzard
of a million reddened pine needles.

But there too in the cold thickened silence,
a shivered relief that what is replaceable
will be replaced, and what is not
– two children sleeping overhead,
the delicate, laced web of nerve and muscle
in your pianist’s hand remain,
in the end, miraculously intact.

Copyright © John Kavanagh 2013

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