Devon Branca

The Eggshell Nieces Dance

Blankets flailing in the wind, we stand,
bright smiles around Ed’s Music Store in flames,
calling out to the preachers, the pessimists,

the photographers. We stand, throwing our shadows
on suburban homes, coffee pots
in the kitchen, wake up Grandpa, this town

gathers to flames. I know my father
through a barn burning, met an exec
at an apartment blaze, and I just overheard

a waitress saying, “I suddenly want
to play the trombone.” A population
of emergent houses, the forgotten rows

always stacked at least three deep. This town praises
the headless phoenix, the anxious arson,
the match-wielding child, for reminding us

how we need a building to burn. A community
in focus, a confession offered up to the flames:
Together we can forgive each other for watching.

Devon Branca teaches composition and literature at Morrisville State College. He has work forthcoming in Cream City Review, Denver Quarterly, and Ninth Letter.
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    Ernest O. Ògúnyẹmí