The Sounds Oblivion Makes
We’re in the barn,
my job to pour gasoline
into the carburetor
of the old Toyota wagon,
as he cranks the key repeatedly,
and when the can ignites—
burns my lashes, eyebrows—
I drop it, flaming, onto dry hay
and for a panicked interim
we run back and forth,
moan and yelp like animals,
as we fill buckets from the horse trough,
dump water on flames,
fire lapping the barn walls,
cackling with greedy glee,
and my little sister, on a weekend visit,
oblivious on the lawn watching us,
pets the purring cat.
by Laura Foley, first published in Harpur Palate.
Milton Kessler Memorial Poetry Award Winner
Editor’s Note: The panicked emotion in this poem is perfectly conveyed by the single, long sentence. Also, cats are indifferent to the suffering of humans.