the child, enjoying its mother’s breast,
ignored the flash, preferring the flesh
of life to the second sun
now blinding the skies and eyes of men
outside and in.
and when the milk turned sour
on the darkening ground,
its mouth closed with a small
the thinker, reading a fantasy
of the end of the world, paused within
a half-laugh, and watched the pages
and his fingers curl in smoke that was
and he fell lightly into ash,
mixing with the book
his own faceless thought—
a puzzled look.
the plowman, spreading seed over
thick black furrows, lingered a moment
in the heat of the new day,
and watched the small semaphores of smoke
that were his seeds.
and a smile of sorts
spread across his face,
as he became the furrows
of another place.
the sentinel, first to glimpse the fired sky,
and first to hear the million bats wings
hovering near the soon-dead star,
looked through the final fogs of morning
at the late dawn.
and crouching for an instant,
might have asked aloud
for one who could explain
his charcoal shroud.
the old man, tired as only he can be,
warmed the solid chill of winter
from the marrow that was bone,
in the starred heat that was summer
and then wasn’t.
and warmed, he thought the char
an unimportant thing,
exchanged for heated blood
unthawed by spring.
the headstones, painted now with melting flame,
gave up their chiseled verse, became the lava
that was earth and bone and rock,
and silently poured itself over
the shuttered past.
and those interred for beauty,
truths done or just begun,
joined seared hands with those
who fell for none.