Scorched-Earth Policy

Scorched-Earth Policy
Kristin Towe

I remember the night we almost broke-in-two:
               outside my window all the world burned orange
               and mama had her hands lifted to the heavens
               and with a mouthful of ashes, she cried out “fire!”

That was after the wineglass was emptied:
               a tiny crystal relic from a thirty-year marriage
               a rescued artifact, never before needed to be used,
               the word “bride” traced in the white of fresh ash.

However, it was before I found the fork:
               near the fire pit, lit by the sun, Poseidon’s trident
               rusty, sticking up rod-straight out of a pile of dirt
               the American flag, marking the conquest of the universe.

                                                              What I saw from my window was a man
                                                                             who was not afraid to burn.

Everything afterwards looked like this:
              Persephone, with hair like fiery ribbons lit with sin,
              reached out to Hades, and he took her in his dead arms
              and the fire-pit smothered out, and my window darkened

                                                              And nothing was orange anymore.

Mama, mama, what compelled daddy to think he could eat the world?
               and why, when we had plastic, did he choose silver?
               and did he burn it first to swallow quicker?
               and why was his glass empty by the door,
               while yours sat full and bleeding on the table?