Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry

Jenny Lu

You, the Fire

I never saw you;
you are something gone.

Fire that took down my childhood,
You set ablaze that old house,

Steps of stone,
Dark alleyway, refuge of rats,

bigger than the petal-like hands
of the two-year-old me.

You broke down the wooden stairs
into bits and ashes,

I tumbled down them, once, twice.
I tumbled, like a soda bottle.

In one night, you avenged me,
my fall. My childhood.

Issue 4 | Winter 2012

I would have never gone back there anyway.
But it is a presence,

A landmark,
A symbol

Of my first two years and my first two thousand steps
On this world.

I never saw you.
Were you red, orange, black?

Did your fumes reach the black-blue skies?
Did you cry,

when you saw a part of me crumble into dust,
to the ground?