Brick by Brick

Santa runs his fingers across the grout lines;
follows a fissure that ends half way up
the chimney, a root system of unnoticed
cracks. Enough, he thinks, to break
a mother’s back, if the flue backed up
and blew the house down. Santa sighs,
uses his flashlight to check the build up
of ash. He rubs a little soot behind
his ear, for good luck. There is nothing
here; the logs are cold and no one cares
about fire safety. Yesterday, he watched
a mobile home across the street burn
to the ground. Today, it’s a pile of iced
insulation, vinyl siding, and ribbons
of wiring. Inspection complete, Santa stands
on the front porch and listens to the staple
bend the condemnation notice in the wind.
Amelia Martens


Amelia Martens

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