Returning to the Cabin to Watch the Fire

–by Eric Paul Shaffer

After driving James down the mountain to work
this morning, I returned to chill sunlight slanting
through fog to light a door I locked but left open.

The fire still glows, and I throw on another log.
Silver light greens the pines as I type my words
on an ancient typewriter–missing two keys–

and listen to fangs of fire gnaw the wood.
Later, striking lightning rings the phone. I can
certainly drink to that, sipping coffee and laughing

the laugh we’ll have later over the beaten machine.

As I drove down, James read Snyder’s “Marin-An”
and told me the best thing about his job–writing

through the night after working through the day.
Before punching the clock, he lit a cigarette.
I revved the engine; then, he spoke in blue smoke,

“When you come down the mountain tonight
make sure the fire’s out.”

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