evidence to the commission of enquiry #2 like a duck on the Marysville lake

Back to: Surviving the Devil: A Song of Fire
Poem #30 from the ‘Surviving the Devil’ collection (unpublished)

lying in the mud
of the lake
that’s in the middle of Marysville he was staring at a flock of ducks
that might have saved his life

above his head
the fire leapt through the trees
around him
orange fingers dancing forward
hungry for something more
to burn

it looked alive
like a modern day cartoon
hyper-real and yet surely
it couldn’t be true

he found his hand reaching
for a remote control
to make it small
turn it off
drive it further away

from the third generation of his family
in the little hill-town
he made his living playing music
for tourists
and the passing trade

but he saw the guest-house burn
smelled the death of his familiar
the old piano

he said later
that the ducks
have always made him laugh
always been a pleasure
and he’s watched them gather
on so many nights
around the reed beds
in the water

and if it was good enough for them
it might do just as well
for a man in trouble

so when the smoke was sitting
just above his head
frothing and bubbling
with the nasty promise
of a cauldron filled with tar

and the sky caught fire while embers fell
like the rain in a meteor shower
white with heat

he walked into the lake
to his neck
and prayed to god
to save him

© Frank Prem, 2010

To Poem #31: evidence to the commission of enquiry:
#3: running like tar out of the smoke

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