Brendan Grady


Here are the ways I say heat:
gasoline, throat, spit, rope, tongue.
I stare at the edges of mountains
behind the house, an outline of flame.

Listen: any man worth a fuck
knows how to build a fire.

Let the house be wood. Let the windows
be eyes, the door, mouth.

Remember how you learned
to love brick, learned to love your face
up against it, rough as your father's
unshaved stubble as he held you.

Bricks don't burn. Don't let yourself
slip. Let the door rip
open in a rage, fly off its hinges,
let the shades shut. Don't close your eyes.

Keep them open, keep your mouth open.
Are you ready? I'm ready.
Do you want to try again? I'm ready.
Flip a match. They'll gather round soon

to watch your flames. Join them.
Pick out a man that looks like your father,
palm the small of his back
like a shadow. Whatever you do

do not sing, oh sinner, let the tongue
singe in your mouth. Gasoline, rope.
Don't you dare sing.