Koa and the Burning of the Kula House
When I was four, a fire overtook
our house one night, repossessing it
with long red fingers. Our dog Koa
survived, wriggling out of her collar,
which still clung to her chain, staked close
to my window. We found her circling
the yard, compulsively chasing bits
of ember still orange with heat.
They fell around her like flakes of sky,
tiny enough to exhaust themselves
before landing. No matter. She barked
so long at the flames that her voice
roared above the hiss and crackle
of some unseen knick-knack breaking
open, and went from deep to hoarse
to barely there. She wouldn't stop
until my father, broken and angry,
threw a big rock at our roof before
it moaned and folded slowly down.
Damn dog, it's no use, he screamed
at Koa, but she was already gone.
She ran by me before disappearing
into the cold shadows of trees, beneath
branches bent with heavy loads of leaves.