We burned the carpeted needles of our Christmas tree in a Coors Light
box on the February driveway. The labeled cardboard glowed orange and
twisted in the heat. The pine needles rolled in the wind, unphased.
"Needles don't burn." My father raised his glass to his lips, as
though he'd known all along.
"Needles don't burn?" I asked. He hated this about me.
"They don't catch fire. No."
We stared at the flaming silver beer box, raining molten over the
"Anyone have a poem to read?" Russ, the sheepish boyfriend.
"We need a Bob Dylan song," I said, helping.
"Hudda hudddaaaaa huuudddddaaa hoooooooooooo. . ." said my father,
elevating the pitch of his voice.
We all stared at the flames, equally. The pine needles rolled back
and forth, to the beat of nothing.