This is from a prompt Jeanne gave us: write something on “readiness” using the wild word “furnace.” She was talking about being ready if inspiration strikes, but for me, the word “furnace” took over.

We are never quite ready for the unexpected.
Water rising.
Power failure
Flames bursting from the top of the furnace
(But you are already on 9-1-1, having smelled smoke, and the voice says “get out! Get out! We’re on our way!”
But the dog is crated in the bedroom
And by the time you run back and release her
The flames are barring the way to your parka
And it’s twenty below out, but the dog is safe …)
No, we’re never ready
But we cope.

©Sue Ann Bowling