My name is Leah. I live and write in Wellington, New Zealand. Welcome!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Poem: 'Fire Bug'

In the pearly afterbirth of morning
she burnt it to the ground;
watched as the matchstick house
dislocated like an injured jaw;
stood as the birds fled in clusters,
black as pepper kernels.

He came to her later
and they sat in the sooty remains,
stacking ashen wood,
and she watched his face,
his eyes set like currants
deep in his doughy skin;

gingerbread man,
slow-rising lover.

The fire still smouldered later,
ripe orange blooming in oily black,
stringing their words out between them
like drying laundry flapping above the ashes.

A prayer for the lost, he suggested,
and they closed their eyes,
imprints of light smudged rose against their eyelids,
their capacity for destruction
an inherited gene,
their prayer one of sympathy, not apology.

- Leah McMenamin 

Head on over to the Tuesday Poem hub for some more wonderful poetry today!


  1. Wow!!! Love this Leah!!!! especially 'gingerbread man,/slow-rising lover' and ' ripe orange blooming in oily black'. Just - wow.

  2. It is so strong. My favourite images was their words flapping like dirty laundry.

  3. Deep. I don't know whether I like it or not?? Disturbing in a way. Graphic and makes you think so . . . . thought provoking.

  4. I really like this too. Those words flapping like dirty laundry. You always have words in the air... like that very much indeed.

  5. Liked the matchstick house
    dislocated like an injured jaw; and all the lines mentioned by others above.

    Very much want to know what inspired it! And who the gingerbread man is.

  6. Full of startling and arresting imagery. Is it just a boy thing or do we all love lighting fires when we were kids. I know I did. Great poem, Leah!