Firehouse

from I Was In Love With A Difficult Man

I've lived in this neighborhood
for twenty-seven years
I know where to get good bagels
and exotic beers
the favorite sidewalk cafes
where locals like to eat
but I never paid attention to
the firehouse on this street

On one side is a parking lot
the other side a laundromat
across the street's a small boutique
where you could find an antique hat
on the corner an all-night diner
and discount drug store
where life goes on but not quite like
the way it did before

At first there was a slender thread
of optimistic hope
the digging went on round the clock
no one slept, but somehow coped
the photos of the missing men
were posted on the glass
of the red door where
we said a prayer
whenever we walked past

The wind shifted to the north
smoke filled our lungs
stung our eyes, burned our throats
left a bitter taste upon our tongues
we drank more than we should have
before we went to bed
everyone I know had nightmares
filled with helpless dread

Day blurred into night then day
then night then day again
'missing' was the buzzword
too hard to think this was the end
for young men charging up the stairs
as hell came rolling down
though logic wasn't on our side
we thought they'd all be found

'Cause still there was this slender thread
of optimistic hope
the digging went on round the clock
no one slept, but somehow coped
the photos of the missing men
were posted on the glass
of the red door where
we said a prayer
whenever we walked past

Neighbors lit votive candles
laid flowers at that door
baked casseroles and homemade breads
but wished they could do more
the guys inside were grateful
but preferred to grieve alone
trained to save the lives of others
they could not save their own

Maybe next year the pain
won't be as sharp
as it is today
though it will never
completely go away
and we will talk in terms of
'before' and 'after' the attack
and wish more than anything
we could bring those brave men back

Reality sliced cleanly through
that slender thread of hope
the digging went on and on
some snapped
most of us still cope
the photos of the missing men
are missing from the glass
of the red door where
we say a prayer
whenever we walk past





© Christine Lavin Music (ASCAP) administered by Bug Music

updated: 6 years ago