I painted my fireplace with a pint of Silence.
Fires of previous tenants had stained its hearth
until one of them stuffed the damper with newspapers
       inked by reporters now long dead.

A Stygian coat disguised the firebox’s permanent char,
hiding the soot and creosote that still
occasionally fall from the flue,
       burnt remains from other lives.  

Converted decades ago to gas,
a fuel line snakes across the hearth,
poised to ignite inflammable imitation logs,
       pure fiction in the empty firebox.

The room seems brighter with its past painted over
but cold without the promise of fire.