Literary Yard

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‘Firehouse on Fire’ and other poems by Aaron Sandberg

By: Aaron Sandberg

“Firehouse on Fire”

It was like
the engine

locked the
red house doors

from inside,
lit the match,

and wished
to be

the one
being saved.


“Out, Out”

Arched back over porcelain tub,
I scrubbed

all four paws and tail
until the rinse ran clean

but still she smelled for weeks
until finally it was gone

and I could breathe again and bury
my face in her fur and inhale

until the next fall rain came and how
the skunk-musk that hung

in her—
like all our pasts—

would climb out
into the ever-burning embers

of the ever-waiting now
to haunt me

like some ancient ghost still clung
to the present house

to remind me that yes
it remembers.



Placed in the fence’s diamond-spaces
above the freeway,
a desperate romantic gesture
of plastic Solo cups had read


to burden her
and us
with that truth

or lie
or threat
or poison
or pureness

or whatever it was before
between them that led
to this sign for us and Betsy
who may or may not have driven by
and winced
and rolled the eyes

or tapped the brake
or cried
or did a double-take
or pressed down on the gas

and sped up—
to get past it—
under an overpass.

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