An Unplanned Event - Weebly.com
by Angie Minkin
Daily, I sweep the alcove that once held a crib,
altar to infant sleep, where I knelt
for hours, watching over his tiny moonlit body.
These old floorboards hold a faint baby powder scent.
Now I watch my own breath, my mind in coast oaks
and the shadow of the blue water tower.
Our son traced Batman and X-Men here,
spent hours at the drafting table he rescued
from the street, wrestled upstairs.
Something about its precise triangles
and tilting rectangle loosened his hand,
as he sharpened pencils, collected markers,
pasted pictures of flight and strength
around the alcove, his haven
until he turned fifteen. He lit candles
every night, honored strange gods,
dripping wax in effigies of demons
or perhaps they were angels—
Incense smoldered that hot July day,
neighbors pounded the door,
firefighters hacked open the roof.
The captain shamed us.
We shivered for hours outside, waiting, watching
flames, cursing ourselves, our cat
cowering under the deck, our boy rigid
with remorse, strangled
with pent-up tears. Fire out,
we discarded, swept, scrubbed,
his drafting table a total loss.
We slept like the dead until morning.
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