Not All Fires Burn the Same, by Francine Witte

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Not All Fires Burn the Same by Francine Witte
Not All Fires Burn the Same
Copyright 2016 by Francine Witte

"Welcome to the poetry of Francine Witte where, for better or for worse, anything could happen. Itís a world of hurt and bedazzlement, of pain and possibilityĖof pain sisters and wounded wives. Of laughing hurricanes and sky in your coffee cup. Of streets woven of bones and ash, and moons that know better than to stick their noses into every other sentence. Itís a world of uncertainty yes. But also insistent pull. Where, whether it is a loverís heart or the outstretched neck of a race horse, anything could turn a sure winner into an also ran or back again. This is Francine Witteís world. Weigh the odds, take your chances, put your money down. Take comfort in knowing that it may not always be pretty butĖfor once in your lifeĖyou can get the whole, clear viewÖrather than how we too often find things, spread out in a million different directions, all of them going nowhere."

George Wallace
Author of A Simple Blues With A Few Intangibles (Foothills Publishing, 2016)
Poet Bio:
Francine Witte
Sample Poems:
The Mover's Wife        Any Other Street        Not All Fires Burn the Same

Francine Witte
Francine Witte  
Francine Witte grew up in Queens, NY. She earned her MA in English/Creative Writing at SUNY Binghamton and her MFA in poetry at Vermont College. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks Only, Not Only (Finishing Line Press, 2012) and First Rain (Pecan Grove Press, 2009), winner of the Pecan Grove Press competition, and the flash fiction chapbooks Cold June (Ropewalk Press), selected by Robert Olen Butler as the winner of the 2010 Thomas A. Wilhelmus Award, and The Wind Twirls Everything (Musclehead Press). A former high school English teacher, Francine lives in New York City.


The Mover's Wife

Tired of her husband in other
bedrooms all day, she starts to dream.
How simple would it be to wrap up
a life and move it out one fragile
item at a time. First the heart, then
memories tissued up and boxed. She
dreams this over coffee late afternoon,
before her solo dinner on the
wedding china she uses every day.

At night, her husband comes home, sinewy
and smudged, drops himself down
on the couch like a heavy carton.
Of course, he is taped shut, but she
canít help but wonder whatís inside.
Thoughts of other women, purchase orders,
back supports, or maybe a flash of their
first night together here, him cradling her over
the threshold when the future stared back
at them like a blank, unfurnished room.

Copyright ©2016 Francine Witte

Any other street

would be made of asphalt, black pitch
pillowing in the August heat. But this street
is woven with bones and ash and anything else
leftover when a dream dies. Itís the kind
of street you try to avoid when mapping
out directions. Once, for a party, I
entered a destination, and no matter
how many alternate routes I tried, this
street kept coming up. So all right,
I thought, I have a dream or two
I donít mind killing. Iíll just dress
in them that day. But how was I to know
that life dreams are like night dreams,
and you donít get to choose. So, even
though I was willing to give up winning
the lottery or having my own reality show,
this street wouldnít be interested. It would
want that secret dream I had tucked away
down in my shoes. That dream of having
one simple day after another. Itís not much
of a dream, but itís the one I really want.
A quiet sleep followed by not much of a morning.
Coffee going down to reliable cold. And I wanted
to keep that dream so much, I thought about turning
back. Who needs another party after all? But,
before I could turn around, that hidden dream,
maybe curious, maybe up for a challenge,
started to itch my feet, made me keep on
walking, maybe just to see how far
this street would really go.

Copyright ©2016 Francine Witte

Not All Fires Burn the Same

Take the ones on the evening news,
forest scorch, flames like wolf tongues.
You are watching, safe behind your TV tray,
feeling smug and oh so cool. Not at all
like those fires you started as a kid, stolen
matches, newspaper in the sink. Sparks
flying under the cabinets and you could have
burned the kitchen down. But that
was nothing like the fire of your husband
and his other woman, how you thought
he should be strong enough to reason
her away. You didnít see his fingers
and how burnt they already were. Dark
and scarred as that TV forest you thought
was so far off, where the fire had to eat
its fill before it could go home. And when
your husband finally limped back to you,
hands full of dead smoke and regret,
you let him into your lukewarm
bed, and when he kissed you, you
could taste the ashes still in his mouth.

Copyright ©2016 Francine Witte