Pyrocumulus

We hadn’t noticed the cloud or thought of flames.
By the time it came to view, the house was lost.
We could only watch and say their names

together as we had.  How could we blame
them, so full of ideals, so  driven by lust?   
We’d missed the cloud and never pictured flames

shooting through the roof, wind-whipped chimes,
wings of ash lifting from that past.  
We could only watch and say their names

as if to conjure coupling. Some homes,
I know, burn down and some are built to last,
but we’d totally missed the cloud, the raging flames,

until a hose was useless, the word ‘remains’
meant nothing left to salvage.  The place was toast.  
We stood and watched, repeating both their names.

I thought of Moses’ bush, his tablets of shame,
of doors slammed too hard and windows burst.
We’d missed the cloud and never imagined flames.
Now we could only watch and say their names.

Pronouns: She/Her

2 Poems

Beth Gylys

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Pyrocumulus

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Adopted as an orphan, an army brat,
sometimes a little “rough around the edges”
but pretty good to you, you’ll give him that.

He lost a brother in a car wreck, sat
and listened to him die, both of them wedged
in metal. Orphaned, adopted, an army brat

now a handsome, flirty flawed diplomat.
Buddies until he moved to Georgia—a stage
for racial strife, you’ve heard about that.

His post’s stupid, almost cruel. Maybe it’s what
he’s turned to, turning around the buried rage
of losing parents, a brother. An army brat

adapting to surroundings. You don’t want
trouble, but now the trouble is yours, his page
a reckoning. He’s been good to you, but that

is the matter: what to do? You’d like the thought
gone, instead its steel-toed boot is lodged
in your gut. Adopted, an orphan, an army brat,
and mostly good to you, you’ll give him that.

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