just a spark. a tiny star,
winking in dropped glass
beside sticky tarmac, or else
an ember squeezed from a cigarette,
a sharp red dream in a firebug’s heart.
what madness, pain, will it impart?
roaring gold, the maw devours
homes, lives, plants
as terror, longing, grief
a cancerous lung, the smoke consumes;
pauses, gathers strength
& then resumes.
the wind is wild as a gypsy curse,
stinging with scarlet thorns
its Phaeton-mares, frenzied,
pulling a charcoal hearse.
sun’s chariot falls like a hammer-blow,
a wall of burning grief,
a searing loss, & while the anguish lasts
it will not cease.
they hide in the earth,
that Dresden’s force denies.
above, dams boil & hearts explode
& weep as dogs lie bravely down,
a sea of guardians who will not rise.
they could have strayed,
but faithfully did not:
their masters stayed.
trees shatter into swollen skies,
bursting like ripened fruit
in the fire’s hard hand. we knew the risks;
the perils of our lovely, sunswept land.
they were not this: to stay or go, but burn
without a choice. birds died aloft:
small angels, lacking voice.
now only ash remains, & twisted shells.
where once sang lyrebirds,
we sift the wrecks, the dark, unlovely hells
of loss. such wounds run deep,
& still the fires burn.
we dare not sleep.