Sunday, January 15, 2023
When you finish burning, what’s left 
sends a black thread of smoke
through fresh ash like a hand
waving the last of us away.
You didn’t ask to return,
if you did, God never answered,
passing your request to some minor deity,
some lesser bird of paradise.
Nonetheless, you’re here,
your body the shape of a milk snake,
whale shark, dust devil—
something only appearing to be dangerous.
Alive, we knew you as a closed door,
the sound of crushed gravel, a truck
backing down the drive. For how long
did I mistake you for night,
a dog’s bark, an owl?
Now, we’ve packed up cold cuts,
hung dress clothes, and didn’t sing.
We drink whisky in the backyard,
though we’d rather sleep.
But still, here you are, failed storm,
waterspout, empty threat that’s not quite done with us.
Sunday, January 15, 2023