"The Apartment" and "What Was Lost in the Flames"

The Apartment

Like the body
of the tenant
who once lived
there,
the apartment
grew gaunt.
Newer furniture
found homes,
while older pieces
were broken up
and taken
to the dumpster.
Closet shelves
and bottom drawers
were scraped clean
of their secrets
and tested for
emotional
relevance--
pictures, letters,
holiday greeting cards.
Books and knickknacks
were boxed,
clothes bagged
and donated
to the local
thrift store.
A slow but
irreversible
autopsy
was performed
until the last item,
the last memory
remained,
the key left
on the table,
the door
left locked
behind.

 


 

What Was Lost in the Flames

There once was a boy
who had a dog,
a bike,
a brother,
a microscope set.
 
A boy whose home burned,
the microscope set reduced to char,
the dog's padded feet cracked and bleeding
from walking on the broken glass of the gutted ruin.
The brother had risked his life to toss the phone out the window.
The bike survived unchanged, thank God.
 
Or maybe God wanted the home to burn,
and everything in it... the boy, the dog, the brother.
But not the bike.
Because God likes bikes
and hates microscopes.
 
The dog died one year later of a heart attack
after a fight with a younger dog who moved in down the street.
The burned home was bulldozed and replaced with a new home.
The brother grew up and moved away, led a relatively happy life,
until he too died of a heart attack at a young age.
The boy witnessed all these things and knows God is lurking,
the smell of sulfur still on his fingertips.
 
The boy relives the fire over and over.
Years later, he drives past the property where the new house still stands,
all trace of smoke and feathery flames and broken glass erased,
even the lawn has since filled in, making invisible the deep ruts
the fire trucks had put there.
As if it had never happened,
never altered the lives it changed so drastically.
 
And the boy still wonders, tries hard to remember.
Did he ever have a dog?
Did he ever have a brother?
He knows for damn sure he had a microscope set.
He still has the bike.
He sometimes rides it up and down the street, angry,
trying to ignite the tar and set the world on fire.

 

 

Kurt Newton

Kurt Newton's poetry has appeared in Alien Buddha Zine, Cajun Mutt Press, In Between Hangovers, Horror Sleaze Trash, and in the anthologies More Alternative Truths, Alternative Truths: Endgame, and the soon-to-be-released Shout: An Anthology of Resistance. His latest poetry collection, Nazi Swastika Bikini Wax Illumanti, a dark and humorous look at pop culture, was recently published by Alien Buddha Press.

 

Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 22:12