Cover Art: Molly Allen

Arson: A Love Story

Lesley Doyle


Our Wisconsin-bred neighbors didn’t know

what to make of my family, lazily peeling splinters

from the slatted fence while our field burned,

the rattlesnake hiss and twitch of the flames

waving like wheat, birthing August heat into the sky.

I could talk now of nutrient exposure, debris removal,

but still I only remember the neighbors expressions,

eyes reflecting like dull coals while our foreign,

sparking plea for life scratched the ground black.

I know what it is to have been born of fire,

to let love sting my eyes like smoke, and to feel,

beneath the palm-curve of my ribs, the match-gutter

of my heart, an open field veined with flame.