in the cool draft of a November Sunday
the fireplace called my name.
maybe it was
the poems I had just finished reading,
what felt like frosty,
it was the fact the baby was finally asleep.
whichever it was,
I was feeling inspired
and it seemed right,
to be warmed by open flame
with an empty page before me.
the aesthetics alone
could make anyone think they're an artist.
if not all of time,
man has picked his brain by his orange flickering friend.
sometimes I look into the dancing inferno
and catch glimpses of history:
the Neanderthals, grunting and telling stories of hunting
giant, hairy mammoths,
an orator recites the battle of Beowulf and Grendel,
Judas makes a profit of thirty pieces of silver,
Arthur picks his knights
and they go table shopping,
Genghis Khan informs his army
at dawn they begin training for archery
while reverse horseback riding,
athletes of the world gather in Athens to compete,
and Paul Laurence Dunbar pens stanzas that shape a culture.
I wonder if they ever got lost in
the blowing ribbons of flame,
if they ever looked and saw glimpses
of the future
as I did
of the past.
I wonder if they ever saw me
sprawled out on the floor,
Flaming Hot Cheeto residue on my lips,
a hole in my shirt
and a cold Red Stripe in my hand
with history passing before me
while I thought about last winter's inflated gas bill
and debated shutting the whole show down.