by Ginger Graziano

The kindling burns, folds in upon itself
turns to ash as fire grabs and sucks
eating, flicking its tongue for more
my son’s brain tumor information burning
the paper begins to melt, turning black
along the edges.
every night in this house with stacks of wood
and snow falling, every other day more snow
the ritual: get wine, pour a glass
make fire (I become an expert)
feed it the rolled-up magazines,
receipts from Sloan-Kettering crumpled and tossed
every night, the wind blows in this house
with no insulation.

Wood glows with fire’s life, pulsing
until it too turns to dust.

Ginger Graziano’s memoir, See, There He Is, has been published by Free Bird Press. A chapter from the memoir appears in Ball State University’s online magazine, Embodied Effigies. She has published poetry and short stories in The Conium Review, Long Story Short, and WNC Woman Magazine. Several selections from her memoir are included in the upcoming anthology, Writing In Circles, The Art of Soul-Making.

About FIRE—I have revised this poem many times since I wrote it. I wanted to get across fire as both life giving and as a destructive force. The fire also refers to the cancer eating at my son’s brain and to my own rage and grief at his death.