waitress poems

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Even though the siren is in the distance,
you know where it's heading.

Even though the fire has not yet begun,
your burning is in progress.

It began somewhere behind your eyes.
And though it was just a slow smoldering heat,

you immediately sensed it's greed.
That was when you first began

crawling through your life on hands and knees
hoarding oxygen in your clenched fists.

You know what is coming--
With sorrow, you watch those who are

still walking upright, inhaling smoke in gulps.
But there is little time for warnings

when the smoke is already acid in your eye.
You keep crawling at a steady pace,

watching the signs and arrows
that lead to the roof.

And when you arrive, well-trained
from a lifetime of fire drills,

you exit the building like a victor.
From below, the blind crowd screams.

Clearly, they don't understand
that you are one step ahead of the rescue team,

that you are wearing a red cross over your heart
and have come to save yourself

as best you know how. Their voices break open
like sirens as if they didn't see

the flames splattering in relief on the street,
the smoke dissolving in the air.

This poem, written many years ago and long forgotten, first appeared in the wonderful and now defunct Poetry Northwest. Reading it now, I am startled by its dark vision. It seems to have been written by a stranger.


  • reading this, I thought of Alanis Morissette - maybe it was the firetruck, but I think it was more of an over all effect. I love Alnis morissette, so, I can't help but love this...

    By Blogger Erin, at 10:42 PM  

  • As you say dark but the sufocating atmospere is brilliant

    By Blogger Sue hardy-Dawson, at 3:01 AM  

  • Yes another great one! And very appropriate for Sun in Leo.

    By Blogger rdl, at 7:52 AM  

  • thank you .

    this poem


    By Blogger Clifford Duffy, at 10:45 AM  

  • P.S.

    Join us if you have time


    it is a group blog.

    contact orpheecd@yahoo.com

    and thank you

    for these pomes of yours.

    By Blogger Clifford Duffy, at 10:47 AM  

  • c. duffy: thanks for stopping by. Lots of good stuff on takingthebrim.

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 6:27 AM  

  • what i picked up was someone living life playing it safe "clenched fists" clenched heart? you are a great poet :)

    By Blogger Lorena, at 11:51 AM  

  • Thank you, Lorena. Your comments mean a lot. I feel the heart in them.

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 2:25 PM  

  • ...which is not to say I don't appreciate all my visitors. Your feedback and the chance to visit your sites and read some wonderful work is what keeps me going.

    By Blogger Patry Francis, at 2:27 PM  

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