After months of arson, we had come to suspect
it would. Folks whispered for weeks, almost with delight.
Many worried for the homeless who sometimes slept

in those abandoned beds, though none lay there that night
when a strange figure with a rag and lighter crept
in a broken window, went room by room, igniting

mattress after mattress as flames made shadowed shapes
sidle down corridors, coil through stairwells, and crack
like dry leaves beneath feet scurrying to escape.

The two-story fire lit all of Accomack,
sirens rang, half the town up already, agape
at the half moon and what might’ve been just a trick

of smoke against it, but most thought some dark angel
ascending—our collective murmur making it real.


Josh Luckenbach