Mass Burial

 by Amy Kitchell-Leighty

They buried our old house next to our new house

after it caught on fire twenty years ago.  That night

my brother and I ran to the neighbors as oxygen and fire

pushed against each other and blew out the dining room

windows.  Our father stood outside with the garden hose.

It was November and cold.  The only things saved were

a basket of mismatched socks and a basket of clothes

to be ironed that somehow made their way out the door

with my mother.  Our buried house is roofed

in sink holes around our yard. Places where you walk

which causes you to slip several inches into the ground, openings

where a chunk of dirt is missing and grass will not grow.

It’s sad, really, because this was the spot in our yard

where we played kickball but now have learned to walk

around it in fear of the pull beneath.  Our possessions—

blackened, melted, damaged by water—were thrown

into this colossal hole, succumbed to the earth:

Star Wars figures, pom poms, prom dresses,

living room furniture, Cabbage Patch dolls

all trying to claw their way back out into our lives.

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Filed under Issue 7, Poetry

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