Phoebe 21.1, Fall 1991

Phoebe 21.1, Fall 1991

Joel Brouwer

Find me the nitwit who post-central-heating
cooked up the idea of employing fire
for ornament and I’ll show you a dunce

who dines with thieves. But also, I’ll bet,
a zillionaire. Because who doesn’t love
living rooms lit up chimney red, the hiss

of sap evaporating? Forget third-degree burns
and Chicago gone up in smoke, let’s have
shadows dancing on the wall, champagne,

babies on the bear rug before the hearth.
Bring on slippers and the dog dozing
with his head on his paws. Never mind

his master nodding off to sleep, the spark
shot into carpet, the dog slowly opening
one eye and licking his chops, ancient

tinder blazing up somewhere in his skull.

Joel Brouwer is the author of four books of poems, including Off Message, forthcoming from Four Way Books in 2016. He is Chair of the Department of English at The University of Alabama.