Issue 2, Spring 2007


Glass No. 14
by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

In 1975 fire shuttered
out the sky for three days.
After school I left footprints
where I walked in ash.
Ash flew up my skirt.
It infiltrated my socks and feet.
In the bathtub I left a trail
as a volcano does,
before glass or granite sets.
In the mornings, I wore a scarf
tied around my nose and mouth.
I cried at the taste of birds
and bark penetrated by flame.
The popular girl—I forget
now her name. She had breasts
before the rest of us. Her house
was gone by the fire’s end.
For the rest of the year,
she smelled lopsided,
smoky and cold, like fire
dampened. I was disappointed.
I loved the panic. School
closed early. There was talk
of oxygen masks. People
waited for the fire to come
to them. I never wanted it
to end. I wished it would
outlast sunsets, moldering
on the new horizon.
Now green, then orange,
impulsive taints fruit takes
when it lapses into spoilage.
I wanted the world to burn,
to shrink and be swept up
by a broom, as I was,
each evening, in the corners
of rooms visited by my parents.
I was only a piece of myself, then,
like glass debris blown clear
by the glass engraver
completing his message.