There was a feeling of discovery
mixed with the horror
that naturally accompanies
the loss of everything.
We watched the fire and backed away
as though it were a great constricting snake
wrapping itself around something wild
but also familiar
What was happening couldn’t possibly be.
Conveniently we became convinced
this was happening to someone else.
The value of what the fire took
was only important to that person.
(Those people! Those poor people!)
What burned in front of us
was a shadow of some past life
a place we would remember
but could no longer visit.