;

WHEN I DIED BY FIRE by Scott Beal

my children knew I was the kind of fool who could drop a spark on my coat and wear it burning into the house, fold it over a chair and go on reading as smoke filled the apartment...
my children knew I was the kind of fool
who could drop a spark on my coat
and wear it burning into the house,
fold it over a chair and go on reading
as smoke filled the apartment
they knew then there was a reason I carried out recycling
every afternoon
they figured it was me who started the dumpster fire
that time the trucks came

though face it they must have smelled
the smoke on my hands
each night I tucked the sheets around their necks
and now it was not just me who had burned
but the building they slept in half the time
half their drawings and laundry
and the two chests their grandmother painted
now they would live in only one house
remember when that was all they wanted

 

 

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About Scott Beal

Scott Beal
Scott Beal's poems have recently appeared in Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Beloit Poetry Journal, Muzzle, Southern Indiana Review, and other journals. He won a 2014 Pushcart Prize. His first book of poems, Wait 'Til You Have Real Problems, was published by Dzanc Books in late 2014. 
He serves as writer-in-the-schools for Dzanc Books in Ann Arbor and teaches in the Sweetland Center for Writing at the University of Michigan.