By John Dorroh
My roommate likes to burn stuff in the middle
of the back of the back yard
where he’s fashioned a burn pit,
surrounded with seats carved out of ancient
oak stumps, a primitive Stonehenge as it were.
When I had known him a year,
I grew leery, concerned about his proclivity
to burn everything in his path. He beat old chairs
into a state of uselessness with a sledge hammer,
extracted legs and arms, tossed them with vigor
into the burning pile of things—old physics and grammar books,
which take forever to disintegrate, like bones in the compost;
small appliance boxes and stacks of portfolios
from 32 years of teaching and preaching, each sweet face,
a photograph, curling up like the lips of an enraged monster,
agitated by the heat of the yellow, orange, and ochre
flames, the ashes falling into gardens and onto car tops
two counties away.
When the fiery tongues leapt to a height of 40 feet,
I stepped back and saw the silhouette of Jesus.
I swear to God it was Him; my camera’s eye
captured the image. Here, look for yourself.
There’s Jesus right there, His crown of thorns
placed at just the right angle.
After the flames had licked the clouds for an hour or so,
we collapsed into wooden seats. He shared the list of what
should go next. “Same time tomorrow evening?” he asked.
“No, thank you. I think I am going to church. Or I might
go swimming. I’ll let you know.”