Walter Bell, fights fires
and is fighting one down the street.
A cameraman stands out front.
A few neighbors, in what will be
their only TV appearance,
say an old couple just bought it
and were fixing it up.
Behind them, stop-action in flashing light,
Walter and the other men
fight fire, spray water, and rake
the smoke from cinders.
Down the sidewalk, I mill around with others,
wondering about lives lived there,
about who lived in our houses
and where their memories have gone.
I remember it is spring, time again
to clean generations out of the corners.
But you never get it. You never get all
the flakes of skin, old food,
all the wool turned to moth dust.
The only time it all goes is when it burns,
winds up in the wind or smeared on the face
of a guy you went to high school with.