The Fires by George Moore

The Fires

George Moore

The wind some wanted to blame
the wind as if it had come up fast

out of revenge for all the building
onto the open prairie open to flame

but I think of the ticky-tacky song
of houses Pete Seeger sings

and how childhood catches fire then
how all of the rooms are consumed

and nothing left but a one-eyed bear
sleeping or leaning dead in a corner

where no one is left to claim her
but the fire the quick and friendly fire

For the neighbors the tragedy
is insurance not the flames eating

the white curtains or the new lawnmower
blowing up in the well swept garage

but how the insurance becomes
a maze with the Minotaur waiting

at the center that is no center
and the ruins three thousand years old

and no one to blame that is it
really the dead-end of who to blame

no one but the furies and Boreas
no one who signed anything

And for the town it is a tragedy
of where the homeless dogs can sleep

where the deer have fled what
possible motive for this madness

as if someone were in charge
and the elements their tools

But fire consumes itself is its own end
we live with it in our hearts

we breath it at each other the fire
of the bombed-out buildings

the fires of Dresden and Ukraine
the fire we keep in its hidden jar

the genii we believe will save us
even as we are consumed

About the Author

George Moore’s collections include Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015) and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016). His poetry has been published in The Atlantic, Poetry, Valparaiso, Stand, OrbisLowestoft Chronicle, and the Colorado Review. He lives with his wife, a Canadian poet, on the south shore of Nova Scotia.