Playing with Fire

The scent of burning leaves
drifts upon the autumn air.
The softness of the evening
is disturbed by exploding acorns.
A woman, wearing a sweater
over a faded housedress
appears to be standing guard
over the dying fire.
The woman is, in fact, careless
with the fire and the daughter
who is running wild in the dusk.
As the harvest moon rises,
the girl is shooed to bath and bed.
She sleeps, but the embers do not.
They dance and leap into the brush
that surrounds this property.
The rhubarb stalks simmer,
the poison ivy sizzles.
Suddenly there are flames
as bright as the swollen moon.
Soon sirens and flashing lights
pierce the night and the woman
is warned of the dangers
of an unwatched fire,
not for the first time and
not for the last.


Poem by Eileen Van Hook.

Eileen Van Hook has had her poetry published in various journals and anthologies. She placed first in a contest “Writer’s Journal”, has been recognized three times in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest and is a two- time Pushcart Prize nominee. Eileen lives and writes in the wilds of northwestern New Jersey.