Wednesday, December 3, 2008

House Fires

House Fires

The night my father broke
the furniture and used the pieces
to build a fire, my mother tore me
from my bed at 3 a.m. Eyes and mouth

wide with whiskey, she told me
we were leaving that place
and would never come back.
We drove for hours, under the gates

of this reservation, as she recanted
years of life with my father,
the man who pulled
our house from its foundations
and sent us all tumbling down

to a cafe in Colville. We took penance
in the breakfast special, she told me
she forgave all our sins. We drove back

to my father, gathering ash
in his hands, planning to bury it all
in the graves we had chosen for each other.

Sherman Alexie......from The Business of Fancydancing

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