February and Fire

February always seems to be a bad month for fires.  Here in Sault Ste. Marie we have had several serious fires in the last two weeks.  My mind returns to February 1972, when an arsonist set ablaze the hall of my Toronto apartment building.  This short poem is an attempt to catch the feeling of that night:  the deep cold, lights flashing against the darkness, the sense of unreality.  I like the fact that the poem seems to reflect more than its surface meaning.


I’m standing in the darkness

Of February cold

and throwing stones

against your window.

I can’t seem to rouse you.

Please give me your attention!

Can’t you see

my house is burning down?