The Furnace

by Eric Norris

Buried in the heart of every house
I’ve ever lived lie furnaces. Remote
Creatures. In the summer months, their mouths

Smile at us through grilles and grates and note
Our comings and our goings, like inmates
In an asylum. Apparitions float

Before them: volleyballs, paper plates,
Italian sausage, chicken thighs, white
Wine, sunburn, Bactine. The furnace waits

In icy silence, longing for the night
The frost arrives—the season of the cough—
When thermostats are turned toward the right.

That is when the fun begins: a moth
Flits upward from the basement, eyes aflame,
Surprised it’s burning, as its wings drop off.



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