We’re almost to October, the season of cold mornings that this week’s poem conjures.

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are now open. There is a link in the credits below.

Christopher Locke’s most recent book of poems is “Ordinary Gods” (Salmon Poetry, 2017). His first spoken word album, “Late Lights,” was recently released by Burst & Bloom Records, as well as a book for children, “Heart-Flight” (Cedar Grove Publishing, 2019).

History Lesson

By Christopher Locke

I start a fire good and fast

with birchbark, scouring darkness

from the walls. The iron stove

plumps like a vein, its little

window beating orange against

my face. It feels good driving

out the echo of last night; shouts

leaving exit wounds until our

daughter slammed her door

like a book of terrible endings.

I stand in a crackle of knees

and think October’s taken liberties

too, pressed its cold cheek against

this house like a drunk uncle dancing

too close. It’s left the trees humiliated,

their cadmium gowns snipped

into useless piles beneath them. I feel

equally naked and shamed. The heat

builds and I add more wood, brightness

the only rule I cannot break.

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is a poet who lives in Portland. DEEP WATER: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2019 Christopher Locke. It appears here by permission of the author. Submissions to the Deep Water column are open through the end of October. For more information, go to mainewriters.org/programs/deep-water/.

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