Geoffrey Nilson

Burning Down The House


Gregory Crewdson, Twilight: Plate 11,

2002, digital print of 8×10 glass negative


he walks two three times

around the gas can slouched

on his heels the building

crackling his two

teenage daughters stuck

in a game of risk on the hood

of the family station wagon

‘you might not know it yet

but the balkans are mine’ she

said the one bent over

the polished chrome grill

the back of the wagon stuffed

with board games bath towels

jewelry winter boots aromatics

trinkets first editions large

prints ‘when are we outta here?

i’m about to be invaded’ she

asked the one laid back

across the windshield

he follows his rut like a track

like a car pulled by a chain to scrap

he smells his fingers

no lingering seagram’s or

bombay sapphire only the crisp

tart of gasoline & sulfur

combustion rough heel

standing callus standing

orders to rest the time off

nothing but time off now

in the shadow of closed fences

‘you know we have to watch

burn it down before someone gets to it’

soot under nails a book of matches

strip wood kindling molded

smoke between light & dark

deciduous leaves the leaving

he circles the gasoline head up

there was nowhere else to go &

they’d be coming soon

Geoffrey Nilson is a writer and musician from New Westminster, BC. His poetry has appeared in publications across Canada including PRISM internationalsubTerrainThe Rusty Toque, and rip/torn. In 2012, he was a finalist for The Malahat Review Far Horizons Award for Poetry. In the fall of 2014 he is attending The Banff Centre’s Wired Writing Studio and he studies Creative Writing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University where he is the Web Editor for Pulp, a literary and visual arts magazine of student work.

Author: D Zomp