A gap between the eave and roof showed smoke.
I went to look; perceived an attic flame.
Emergency: Your help is on the way.
Just time to get the cats into their cage
and listen for a distant siren’s wail.
It didn’t come; my lungs could draw no air.
I phoned again; the woman said she’d failed,
would send a rig to help without delay.
The smoke grew thick, the flames consuming all,
blue and orange flaring through the eaves
and seeping out the downstairs window frames.
I smelled it now, the stink of tires and leaves.
I heard the wind roar; fire makes that sound.
I dreamed our little house was burning down.
W.P. Osborn‘s Seven Tales and Seven Stories won the 2013 Unboxed Books Prize in Fiction, selected by Francine Prose. His short work is in Chicago Quarterly Review, Southern Humanities Review, Texas Review, Hotel Amerika, Mississippi Review, Gettysburg Review, Beloit Fiction Journal, Gargoyle, and other journals.