The Firebreak

Gordon Goodman


The emptiness inside is what prevents
A spread of otherwise relentless flames
That yearn to jump the gaps in our defense
Of memories built upon forgotten names

The first responders dig a trench in earth
Beneath the mineral soil down to the clay
Whose lack of vegetation spells its dearth
As all the broken heartaches drift away

And then smokejumpers start the final push
With water borrowed from diverted streams
That drown remaining sparks and floating ash
In pools of listless, restless, haunting dreams

But in our smothering search for priceless air
What lovely longings spring from such despair


Gordon Goodman is a Penn and Penn Law alumnus. At Penn in the 70's, he served as Editor of Era Magazine, a literary journal of the Philomathean Society. He has held senior positions at Conoco, DuPont, Occidental, and NRG. He lives in Houston, TX, and he and his wife have four grown children.