Fire Safety

By Joshua Mehigan b. 1969 Joshua Mehigan
Aluminum tank
indifferent in its place

behind a glass door
in the passageway,

like a tea urn
in a museum case;

screaming-machines
that dumbly spend each day

waiting for gas or smoke
or hands or heat,

positioned like beige land mines
overhead,

sanguine on walls,
or posted on the street

like dwarf grandfather clocks
spray painted red;

little gray hydrant
in its warlike stance;

old fire escape,
all-weather paint job peeling,

a shelf for threadbare rugs
and yellowing plants;

sprinkler heads,
blooming from the public ceiling;

all sitting
supernaturally still,

waiting for us to cry out.
And we will.

Source: Poetry (November 2010).

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

November 2010
 Joshua  Mehigan

Biography

Poet Joshua Mehigan grew up in upstate New York and received a BA from Purchase College and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Influenced by the poetry of Philip Larkin, Jorge Luis Borges, and Edgar Bowers, Mehigan writes intelligent, morally complex lyric poems shaped by a nuanced attention to rhyme and meter. Critic Adam Kirsch praised The Optimist in a review for the New York Sun, observing, “Mr. Mehigan is Frost-like in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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