A Small Fire
By Charles Fishman

(for Mark & Jodie Haselkorn)

The flames were teal blue with pale orange crowns. 
On the radio, Garth Brooks was crooning
a country/western tune.  Jodie let the rack of lamb cook
in its juices, sat back for a while, sipping a deep red wine
--a burgundy or merlot-- something dark and bright
at once.  El, too, allowed the strings to go slack. 
It was good to see her ease her legs up, to watch her open
the top button at her throat.  How good to see the music
enter her, to sense the rich aromas dreaming into her blood. 
Even Mark had settled back now, letting the sweet pungency
calm him: such a fine host, a brother to admire and love . . .

More orange in the dancing flames! the blue ghosts
holding to center.  In that moment, the future unfolded its petals
of ice and fire.  Young love! sang the Judds, True love!
and the fire shot up: a small fountain of blue and orange flames.