Your Natural History

The night of your conception, from the floor
Where we were lying and your mother now
Lay sleeping, I arose. I locked the door,
Lingering there a minute to watch how
The firelight fanned her face and throat, then went
On tiptoe to the misted window, cleared
A space, and found, high over the snow-bent
Forest, a dwindled moon, whose edges bleared
At my slowed breathing—it was all as frail
As that—while far away, or in my mind
Alone perhaps, a dog sent up a wail
That showed him for a wolf. Your mother whined,
As with a dream; a log collapsed; and then
I fingerprinted FIRE upon the pane.
Dawn, and white lungs, and since it was my turn
To start the fire, I was the first from bed.
Downstairs, where we’d lain watching the logs burn
Gold, red, red to a gray whose core was red,
A killing cold was sliding down the flue.
Yet there it was, cool as the hand of fate:
My FIRE, preserved in hoarfrost, and I knew
She’d love this too.
Well . . . let the (real) fire wait?
Or wake her now? (Or—as seemed kindest—make
Of this the day’s first story, one that I
Might serve with coffee, last night’s apple cake,
And a thawed room? I piled the fireplace high,
And struck a match, wresting a flame, your flame,
From ice. By just such miracles you came.
—Brad Leith a user