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I watch the dull fire glowing red and hot,
my face feels sunburned and my eyes are tight.
I look into the shadows, at the others in this spot,
all my people together, in the dull steady light.
They are a joyful people, they laugh a lot.
I feel her in them, now, clearly on this night.
In the embers I see laughter when I was young,
when I had burnt hot and felt fire in me.
I moved easily and surely, was quick with my tongue,
went out drinking and dancing as if it were free,
there was no life unlived or song unsung.
I was so strong and my thoughts were so bright
In the shadows of the coals a loved face appears,
so serene. The moment we met, we began to talk,
talked so many things over our wine and beers.
Then we married and often she and I would walk
I loved what she loved and there were few fears.
The heat dulls my sight and makes my eyes water.
In the fire, I see my mother die in the car crash,
me, at fourteen, so long ago, but still in the pain.
How the embers of life roll on and leave ash.
This year they lost their mother, all seems in vain.
Only she cared if I stayed up late or had been brash.
The loss is a hollowness inside and my chest is tight.
A grandchild heaves a log onto the camp fire.
Sparks burst up, like brilliant memories in the night
He brings more wood to build the fire higher
but covers the embers, ends the memories with the light.
A mothers voice sounds, “No more!”she is a sigher,
just like her mother. She looks at me and grins outright.
I realize that the fire will, in time, make good new embers.
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