The city sends the men to burn.
When we stand on the porch to watch
them douse the tumbled beams
in kerosene, to see the empty silo sink
to soot, you unloose your hand.
You shade your eyes against the flame.
You say, It’s best. It’s in this town’s
best interest, the papers say, the marshal says—
say the men sent to rehearse the rescue.
Now, when I wake, another house
is risen on ash. Again, the scorched world
thirsts. When the new wife calls her husband
out to the yard, to lie against her in the grass,
I dream I hear another woman’s voice calling
up from a well. Were this another century,
I would break, each morning, the pail’s lip
of ice. Were this another century, you would stay
because there’d be no other place to go.
This poem first appeared in Washington Square Review.
Jennifer Luebbers’ work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Massachusetts Review, Ninth Letter, and Washington Square Review, among other journals. She has held scholarships and fellowships at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, New York State Summer Writers Institute, and Indiana University, where she is an MFA candidate in creative writing and serves as Editor-in-Chief of Indiana Review.
Indiana Humanities is posting a poem a day from Indiana poets in celebration of National Poetry Month.