'Firelake' by Jim Davis-Rosenthal
Firelake, Jim Davis-Rosenthal, 1999.



Carol Mahler


for Jane


No matter where or how I step from bed, the planks
protest. My first thought: I’m alive. Thanks.
I’m afraid that some night bombs will pit
the blackness: I’ll wake—if at all—to a flash
like dawn, the way this morning a sudden brilliance hit
the counter: food left out, unstacked dishes, trash.
What comfort to pop the gas, plop down the kettle,
slosh hot suds in the sink. It soothes me to turn
to what people have done for centuries: to toil
with fire. The same power that warms, burns.
To be always aware of dying
no matter how deeply meshed with life’s gear:
even when I wash dishes, death’s beside me drying
the way a sister would if she were here.







Text © 1997, 2000 by Martha G. Wiseman
"Aftermath" first appeared in Many Mountains Moving, Volume III, Number 2. The work appears here by permission of the author.

Original Graphic Image, "Firelake" © 1999 by Jim Davis-Rosenthal

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