Domenic Scopa

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House Fire

hectic pounding on my bedroom door
harmonizing with the pointed
beat of windows breaking—

pulling blankets off—
looking out—

my neighbor’s house engulfed—
flames scaling            
the now- flimsy roof—
snapping lumber
fire engine lights bouncing
down the block—
neighbors kneeling on lawn as if to heed
some holy proclamation
from their burning home—

                                    their baby girl pretends
to bottle-feed
her threadbare teddy —
cotton stuffing spilling
from its crippled stumps—

She seems as though she

only wants to play



All were moving.
Teammates crowding Richie—
fetal      moaning      cradling
his fractured foot—
Coaches huddled
with first aid supplies, combing
for a splint wrap.
I accidently slide-tackled
My babysitter scolded me.
Mud stained my soccer shorts.

Inside my nightmares
my babysitter’s there      again—
stripping himself
unconsciously skillful—
his skinny body walking
window to window
wrenching all the curtains closed

Sunup will not wake us

He kills the lights—
I pray
he will no longer show me how
to stroke the way
that gets him off.

The soccer shorts
are still crumpled
where the babysitter
tossed them
in the corner of the closet—
years after he took me
I am still afraid
to open it.

Old friends question
if Richie still plays soccer…


Domenic Scopa is the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. He is a student of Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he studies Poetry and Translation. He has worked closely with a number of accomplished poets including National Book Award Winner David Ferry and Washington Book Prize recipient Fred Marchant. His poetry has been featured in Misfit Magazine, Poetry Pacific, Untitled with Passengers, Gravel, Crack the Spine, Stone Highway Review, Apeiron Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Literature Today, Tell Us a Story, Verse-Virtual, Malpais Review, and Fuck Art, Let’s Dance.