the only thing i ever did wrong

“The suburb is in silhouettes today,”

she begins our conversation,

“i can barely see past the flames.”

the fire, oh the fire, the fire

the lovely oaks are singed; golden crowns wreath their leafy heads

the gutters run dry but for crumbling pieces of sediment, pebbles

a picture window, inside tiny wooden chairs peeling red, dilapidated yellow

a miniature table, cracked tea cups, one-eyed doll with uncombed hair,

once a preschool, the children must have evacuated, holding hands,

running single file, some screaming, others crying, bandaged knees.

the sign on a print shop groans, unhooks its chains, drops a few feet

becomes apostrophe to the land, owning nothing, she does not bother

running, how quickly the seasons have escaped us, chasing birdsong

in the west, but dream, but dream, the ethos of the age trapped forever

an image of my father, younger than i am, his camera hangs from his neck

footprints in falling snow lead into the woods, no sound there

she’s crying now, kneeling before a gravestone, gathering lilies

watching the shimmering things in the pond, i breathe, oh breath.

we clasp hands, not bothering to look behind, barren hill, setting suns

between us, we have no sense of direction, i do not wonder if we are lost

i have never bothered to wonder how it is we came to be lost.

raising her hand to my lips, i kiss her cool palm, pressing salve to my cheek.

“the only i ever did wrong, my love.”


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