It’s all firewood now, the scarred, splintered,
broken-apart tables, benches, and chairs piled
high far behind a country inn, all the dinner engagements
and family celebrations they’ve accommodated now firmly
past, service so demanding as to render this furniture
debris, the owner and his son, keeping a hose handy,
igniting the fire, flames swirling the mound instantly,
the crackling from within it at first spare and subdued,
then turning resonant and rhythmic as if in recitation
of its own, long, complicated story, the story of work
well done, of promises kept and promise redeemed, all
ending in this blaze through which it relives its history
of giving, the woodsmoke scent—lingering
long after the fire expires—surprisingly sweet.
by Mark Belair
Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His most recent collection is Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015). Previous collections include Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.