In Alabama we needed firewood,
so we bought an axe, and chopped
the fallen oak until our blisters bled.
But we are no boyscouts,
a starter log began the burning.
As the dark forest closed in
the campsite evaporated
like the moisture hissing
and popping from the soggy wood.
The fire grew as it ate,
until we were left with nothing
but a pale face, licked with orange.
We rose from our chairs, to poke
the loose wood, sculpting the flame.
Soon new faces appear in the chaos,
and memory follows. The mind's opera
always arrives in silence.
For hours, we stared into our creation,
unwilling to let it die, or let the past
fade into ash. Knowing how little
it cared for history. When the profits
of our axework were spent, we played
in the black
and orange embers, childs play
on Prometheus's chess board.
On country route 402 I saw the frame
of an old house, black and scarred.
Five brick pillars survived, standing
with dark plaster at their peaks,
fingers through which the burning roof
had fallen like loose sand.