Allan Peterson


          FEAR OF FIRE

Within the fear of fire was the fear horses would burn

in those scenes with the barn ablaze and they couldn’t save them.

The ocean is fireproof. Any wave below me could smother

the smallest spark, help bells ready to dong in the channel.

No horses, no running, nothing with long legs to be seen.

Then I hear diesels and hoofbeats. Something is going up

over the horizon in a big way, the wind moving to see it

taking the buoy’s long warnings. Then footprints start on water

from the offshore breeze. Cloud smoke layers at the edge

of the shadow of the fear of everything in sight catching

and each diesel leaving the slips in this early light is a fireboat.

I see yesterday burns up and today is burning down,

that everyday fear runs from the actual, each morning a fire drill.

Each boat rescued. Each piston escaping hoofbeats on a bridge.

Copyright © 2003 Allan Peterson.  All Rights Reserved.

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