The Fireplace

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The Fireplace

Rachel St. Louis, Creative Writing Editor

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The fire glowed with her heartbeat. Fast and warm.

Each brick of the fireplace had been stacked by her father.

He built this house, through summer and storm.

He’d wished for a son and gotten a daughter.

 

There was nothing about his Leigh that he didn’t love.

Leigh bore him a daughter,

A daughter he unconditionally loved.

He was always striving to be a good father.

 

Now, this daughter was in her father’s house.

Her parents were long dead, but she bought her home back.

The place was too quiet, and she heard the scurry of a mouse.

She yearned for the homeliness the house was beginning to lack.

 

She was a grandmother now.

She told the little ones stories of Great-Gramma Leigh.

She told them about her father’s cows,

And she told them every little story.

 

But now she was alone on Thanksgiving night,

Without a landline for the children to call.

There wasn’t a turkey or ham in sight,

But right now, she didn’t care at all.

 

She used to care, when she was a child.
Father would kill the bird two days before,

And Mother would carve it for a while.

But now, she ate absolutely nothing that was wild.

 

Ding-dong, the fifty-year-old doorbell chimed.

She coughed and rose next to the fire. Who could it be?

She opened the door to a familiar woman in her prime.

She almost fainted. How could it be her mother, Leigh?

 

“Who are you?” she asked. “How do you know me?”

“I’m your daughter. Leigh.”

“I thought you forgot all about this side of your family.”

“Oh, Ma, I’ve missed you dearly.”

 

Her daughter enveloped her in a big, tight hug.

The generations of Leighs still stood.

She knew her daughter should divorce that thug,

But she also knew the poor woman never would.

 

She invited her daughter inside.

The flames in the fireplace glowed and sparked with her heartbeat.

Little Leigh, though middle-aged, swelled with pride.

She stood by the fire, saying, “This old house is still so sweet.”

 

The fire glowed with her heartbeat. Fast and warm.

Each brick of the fireplace had been stacked by her father.

He built this house, through summer and storm.

He’d wished for a son and gotten a daughter.

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