And this burnt flesh’s not yours–right?
I’d like to think I’d know it from
this charred wood, this ash, this melted plastic
these still-hot beams. I’ll be here awhile
sifting through these ruins, this toppled stone,
under warped metal, looking for something
that might remain–some fucking bit of hair,
some flesh, some bone. Anything.
But you helped me set this, you smiled
as we told old stories, bound too close
around our frigid hearts. You smiled, I thought,
when I said, ‘I’d seen that too.’
And really. I think I remember, or maybe wrong,
that moment before we lit this, from gathered
bits of paper, tinder and words pyred, torched,
to burn this whole shit down.
The idea was mine, maybe, the words most
also mine, so many, because I’d hoarded them
longer than you might think, but you
brought some of your own, too.
I’ll confess, I guess, if you’re really gone. I’ll say
that maybe I’d dragged you in, you’d only wanted a light
a bit or warmth, something to see by, something quiet
or something tame. Not this blackened mess.
I’m sorry, not for this, but that I’m still not sure
if you made it out. Did I torch you to warm myself
Or you? I’ll never know. I can’t be to blame, I saw
something there you couldn’t see.
You, standing near me, too close for you, maybe
not close enough for me, cowering in shadowed
corners, hidden in your quiet, unheard.
How could I not burn this down? But still–
I don’t know if you made it. I can’t find you
in this rubble, but I doubt you really died.
You’re too good at hiding, being the one thing
you really wish you would never be.
Perhaps you watch unseen, maybe waiting
for me to leave, and I will, when I’m done.
But I’m leaving things for you, before I go.
In case you made it out, and still need some warmth
or another stupid poem we should have burned
before I torched your world. And I’ve nothing
else to say, ‘cept if you gotta hide,
just know I’m out alive, burning and unhurt.
And am hoping you are, too.