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Monica Soto
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I dreamed a hunter’s campsite, ancient days,

when spear and flint-tipped arrow brought down game.

Night-dark and full of danger, yet with hope,

and life, and warmth. A fire spat

its passionate and fierce cry of defence

of frail and fitful sleepers.


I dreamed a smoky roundhouse, domed in thatch,

a farmer’s home, his tools of gleaming bronze.

Night-dark and hunger threatened, every hope

upon uncertain harvest.

Red embers glowed their promised certainty

of warmth, food and survival.


I dreamed, millennia past, a small town house,

white stone and tiled against the southern heat.

Night-dark, within a central living space,

warm light upon an altar.

A daily offering, the first duty,

a family’s insurance.


I dreamed a kitchen in my dead aunt’s home,

the hard worked heart of an old worker’s house.

Night-dark, the blackened iron of a range,

gave food and coal-fired comfort.

Sat, huddled with her husband and her guests,

her homely heart beat warmly.


I woke within my modern, sterile home

and wondered where to find the ancient hearth.

We cannot gather round a pilot light,

make offering to an oven.

The light of television gives no warmth.

Where is the fire and welcome?

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