by Mary Rohrer-Dann

The lumber yard’s on fire again, Dad shouts to Lucy and Abby, wanna go see? Mom’s at choir practice, so they pile into the Galaxy station wagon and roar down the street, two-way radio screeching, night air swelling with sirens, smoke, blasting horns, ash. They swerve behind the A&P, park at the far edge of the lot overlooking the train tracks, and inch down the steep ravine and across the tracks to the back of the fire. The whole world swirls black and orange, churning with flying cinders, terrified birds, cracking trees, the colossal boom of super-heated air. Lucy knows there will be no hiding this from their mother, that tonight will spark some kind of end, but for now, she clutches her little sister’s hand and her father’s, breathes through the wet kerchief tied around her mouth, and stands trembling before the waterfall of flame. Exhilarated, rapturously alive.


Mary Rohrer-Dann published Taking the Long Way Home with Kelsay Books (2021). Her poems and stories also appear in Philadelphia Stories, Clackamas Review, Vestal Review, South Shore Review, Rats Ass Review, Third Wednesday, Flashes of Brilliance, and other venues.