October Night in Phoenix, 1980

His mother’s lover
made bonfires in the backyard.
One night she broke up
an old ladder
and tossed it in.

Faces of the neighbor children,
reddened with heat
and laughter,
held no conclusion,
no concern that life
could break and burn them.

The son saw
the deep blue heart
of the fire, under rungs
that would never be climbed
to reach some tool in the shed
for pruning green innocence.

Many times he had stolen her atlas
and composed scenes in the Sahara,
the Gobi, and Madagascar.
He could walk there in his mind
after the gun was taken
and her blood could not be scrubbed
from their white bedroom walls.


Adam King resides in Silver City, NM, and is currently finding (or losing) himself in writing fiction and learning the art of fairy tale interpretation.


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