Little Golden Notebook

Where fiber art, inspiration, and words meet.

NaPoWriMo 16: Arson


We saw the smoke from the fire before the fire itself, like you always do.
So much smoke that on the bus on the way home,
our grade school selves couldn’t figure out where it came from,
and then as we got closer, I saw my neighbor’s house, engulfed
and another, smaller column of smoke coming from the trailer on the hill.
Your parents took what they could –
a coin collection, a stamp collection, more –
and then set fire to your grandparents house, also an antique store.
To throw authorities off, they then set fire
to your house, the trailer on the hill:
burned both to cover their greedy fingerprints.

I always wondered: did you get your favorite toys out first?
Did you know or did they send you to school like any other day?


4 responses to “NaPoWriMo 16: Arson”

  1. This is quite a powerful piece, Mandy

    1. Thanks, I think. 🙂
      It’s a true story – I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell it in writing for a long time.

  2. Anne Clark Avatar
    Anne Clark

    Oh my gosh, Mandy — what a stunning telling of this story. One I have relayed many times in my life — this sadness and bizarreness of it always stuck with me, though of course I didn’t have any deep understanding of it at the time, being young.

    1. I’ve been trying to understand it since it happened as well. And I always wondered what happened to the kids; literally where they went after that but also how they turned out. I hope they broke the cycle of poverty & whatever else was going on.

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