By Jane Schapiro

Truth is                           
he didn’t want to go back in 
but The Towering Inferno haunted him. 
He was standing half-dazed by the bombed-out ruin 
when Richard Chamberlain flashed through his mind. 
Over and over scenes replayed 
until he told himself 
I am not like him  
and climbed five floors to help save a man. 

He hadn’t known this Hollywood film
had embedded in him. 
Preserved through the years, it had lain 
like a forgotten scent, waiting for its perfect cue. 
Who can predict what will rise from the rubble? 

It was his wife who had picked the video. 
He remembers that night— 
he had settled back 
with a can of beer and looked forward 
to an escape.

Photo by Jakob Owens