Vox Populi

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Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum: Heaven-Fire

Our middle child sings “Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells!” 

Well into February when he wakes in his crib

Before his mother and I, his stepfather, have come

To change his diaper and help him into clothes, 

And all he has to do is sing. The boy is not my blood 

Though “Son” is the only name I have for “He-

Who-Will-Dance-To-Just-About-Anything,” “Son-

Whose-Heart His-Mother-Believed-Was-Broken-


And-Valves-To-Declare-Him-Fit,” “Sweet 

Ndee Boy,” “Sweet Inupiaq Boy,” “Sweet-Caroler-

In-The-Morning’s-Half-light,” “My heart beats 

Just like yours,” I want to write to him in the half-light 

Of the kitchen, “your song seemingly serenading

The sun through the thin walls of this home we share

On 2nd Street, the same sort of blood circulating

Through our systems as daylight filters

Through the invasive hackberries in which the Emperors

Rest their wings, the same sort of blood, Son,

Feeding the same sorts of muscles as a whisper

Of a door opening down the hall halts your singing

Stills your stepfather (who is only doing his best)

In the middle of his next line, the same saline

Solution of tears—no matter the record of massacres

And broken treaties between our peoples’ histories

Brought to our sometimes-green/sometimes-blue

Eyes when the mother we both love in our different ways

Appears in the doorway, just-risen and without-

Coffee, her hair flaming down from the root like heaven…

Like fire…Like heaven-fire. Like life! Like life!”

Copyright 2022 Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum

Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum is an author, editor, & ghostwriter. He is the author of three poetry collections, Fight or Flight, Visiting Hours Ghost Gear

Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum (photo by Nicole York)

7 comments on “Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum: Heaven-Fire

  1. matthewjayparker
    December 15, 2022

    Wow. Poetry indeed.


    • Vox Populi
      December 15, 2022

      Yes, I love Andrew’s poems. Clarity, passion, compassion…


  2. sabinso
    December 15, 2022



  3. Barbara Huntington
    December 15, 2022

    So tender. Thank you


  4. kim4true
    December 15, 2022

    Thank you for that, Andrew.


  5. David Adès
    December 15, 2022

    Thank you, Andrew, for this beautiful, evocative, pensive, gorgeous poem. I love it.


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This entry was posted on December 15, 2022 by in Poetry, spirituality and tagged , , , , , .

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