ANNE-MARIE THOMPSON The Arsonist Ambushes the Firefighters

so I call my brother, asking him
so I callto become, additionally, bulletproof.

A human can only worry so many
so I callpossibilities into superpowers, can only

doubt the rules of order so long before
so I callkindergarteners wear body armor to class

and the whole neighborhood burns,
so I callsympathetic as a virus. We move forward,

which means back to our pact
so I callwith the world. When faced with disaster,

our brains turn first to anything else:
so I calltrusting that the open door and ransacked

dresser mean not a robbery, but
so I calla forgetful morning, the dog feeling contrary;

gunshots near the burning house mean
so I calla door knocked down, a hoseline bursting.

The way that I trust implicitly
so I callthe uniqueness of my hotel keycard; and so,

seeing the latched chain, and then
so I callthe elderly woman beyond, gasping in the bed,

paperback splayed on the floor,
so I callI think first: Grandmama, here? And later:

No place is truly safe. And much later:
so I callThis is my room, lying down, finally, to read.



Originally trained as a pianist, Anne-Marie Thompson now works as a technical writer for a software company and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. New poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in Ploughshares, StorySouth, 32 Poems, and Green Mountains Review. Her book, Audiation, was selected by Marilyn Nelson for the 2013 Donald Justice Poetry Award.