The day was cool.
Four children rose from bed — each with a smile
and thoughts of play.
Their mother cherished a hope for a better life.
The fire alarm gave off one chime
before the house erupted into a firestorm.

At first there was no firestorm,
Only the sparks from a life
Full of the play
of children. The smile
on the lips of the mother faded while a cool
breeze stifled the ringing chime.

Then from the cool
basement, an overloaded extension cord emitted a chime
and a blaze erupted into a firestorm
that ended the play.
The mother’s smile
faded along with her life.

Firemen were called to the firestorm
but nothing could cool
the flames or silence the screaming chime.
The flames extinguished each child’s smile
and ended their play
and the mother’s hopes for a better life.

Contrast the violence of a life
changed by a firestorm
with the innocence of a child’s smile
And the delight of his laughter and play.
The flames responded to the cool
breeze but no one heard the faint chime.

The cool day turned firestorm
extinguished the smile and life of the four
children whose play prevented hearing the one note chime.

Bamdad taught English for 25 years in various places including Tehran, Iran. In retirements she spends time writing, attending classes, and reading literature. “Firestorm” is a sestina.

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