The Day After

By his own hand
Drank a bottle of whiskey and let the dog out
doused himself with lighter fluid         
struck a strike-anywhere wooden stick match
Later the firemen came and put out the fire
someone took his body away
and boarded up the windows with plywood
no one ever saw the dog again
My uncle and  father grabbed me and drove over to his house 
 broke the lock on the garage and  got a ladder 
up against a side window hidden from the street, pried off the plywood
and climbed into the house, first one in the house since the fire                                  
his chair was gone along with the table that sat next to it
there was an empty whiskey bottle exploded on the floor
charred carpet and lingering whispering damp smoke smell
a melted rotary dial phone on the floor
I opened the front door
they went to the bedroom
and took all the valuables before the insurance adjusters came

they would say the fireman took them 

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