A brawl was churning near the river,
my temperament leaving me to watch
though I had just been sucker-punched
when someone called out in alarm
and to the fire they fled in haste.
So soon should I in their wake
with hand cupped to my wounded face
though in truth I would rather lie
ice-pack or slab of cold meat
to my ripened eye.
Blinded by the burning barn,
came tears from the slits of a wince,
and turning with boot tip
a leaf of the brightest red
to find its underbelly white
as that of a common tree-frog.
The embers sweeping passage
heralded snow to come
as the night-sky seemed to shudder
with the blazes booming meter
and a frost bitten wind to boot.
The original owner would be displeased
if he knew the outcome of his labors
and had he not been killed in a duel
over the purchase of some oxen,
a couple of decades ago.
We danced and stomped the flames
to cinders, pissing and hooting
into the night as the first white flakes
dissolved and descended
on the rickety wood of the angular bridges
and the blackened ruins that
hissed and popped in the morning silence.