THE FIRE'S AFTERMATH
by J. Scott Brownlee
Something living was here. Now it's ash.
It's nothing: epileptic shock of the visible field.
I hate to say I don't believe—but in this place,
I don't. Looking up is an exercise
in faith's futility. The stars aren't proof
of anything. What could ever reach them?
They are fading like me—gone like me—
disappearing the same way I am.
I cannot tell you why, and I do not want to.
I refuse to do so on the basis of this excuse,
which I hold to: It was never starlight
I fell in love with, but the emptiness
behind it—all that dark like the black
diamondback I found curled at my feet,
petrified in an S signifying nothing—or, perhaps,
everything. It seemed left there by someone
or something—I still can't explain it—
like me. But not me. But not me.