"We were brightly burning stars once," he said.
I sighed, cooling my coffee with my breath
He gets worked up like this, speaks to the dead,
daydreams. But that's another kind of death.
He's lost for now, thinks angels are his kind,
bent on searching for things he cannot find.

"Those stars are balls of gas. I think you'll find
no holy glow provides their light," I said.
He shook his head, though I was being kind
and spoke of facts and not celestial breath.
He thinks somehow belief can conquer death;
but I have seen too many faithful dead.

And no one comes to raise and save the dead.
mystics, madmen, prophets, martyrs all find
out too late how silent in the end death
is. "And what the Hell do you know?" he said.
I've been to Hell. There every single breath
is a ragged cry for mercy, a kind

of penitential prayer. "Forgive our kind!"
we wept. Cut off from Grace but still not dead
withered without His voice, His light, His Breath.
We were made to love Him and could not find
our way. "Hell's nowhere. It's absence," I said,
"a loss of connection. It's worse than death."

He laughed at me. "Nothing is worse than death.
I want to live forever!" There's a kind
of madness in his eyes. "Oh yes," he said,
"I'll never be among the truly dead
my wings will be the best you'll ever find.
I've been saved!" he shouts, he's short of breath

sweaty and redfaced. Such strange joy. His breath
won't last the night. I've seen how close his death
is. The coroner and his knife will find
a rare heart disorder, one-of-a-kind.
The cleaning girl will scream to find him dead.
"Wings are over-rated," is all I said.

Forget about the dead. Enjoy each breath.
The saints may find transcendence of a kind.
But as I said, that's just another death.

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