a small fire

When that day comes (hopefully, some light years distant;

I, like anyone else, cling stubbornly to this process

Of plodding aimlessly along) that the book of myself

Is closed, I’ve asked–though how I plan

To enforce the wish is an open question–that I am not

Sent off to who knows where in my best suit (oddly tailored

And cut up the back) replete with the odd knick-knacks or mementos

Tucked into some bulky and expensive conveyance

To be Cadillac-ed off to some incongruous green space

Where some black-clad and stiff-collared stranger

Bounces pebble-laden soil onto the top of my bedding for the ages.

Much better, to my way of thinking, to have the remnants

Of my essentials strewn…well, perhaps on some cold Adirondack lake

Or the backyard of my childhood home, if the current residents

Are sympathetic and not too litigious; I have not fleshed out

That particular portion of the equation, as I, like most people,

Am much less emphatic about my do’s than I am

About my don’ts and won’ts.


On the odd occasion, I am visited by a curious dream

Concerning my departure from this go-round;

There is a fire, but it is not some vast, heroic Viking pyre

(Even my reveries having a certain reserve), but something

Much less prepossessing, like the small piles of leaves

Which my father burned when I was a young boy,

And a dark-suited cleric stands before the fire,

His face only somewhat familiar, yet still comforting

(A distant uncle or favorite teacher, perhaps),

And he tosses the residue of my corporeal self

With words absolving the foolishness of my acts of commission,

(The stumbling footfalls of the blind; throw them on the fire.)

The shortsightedness of my omissions,

(Boorishness of children and fools; throw them on the fire.)

The sum of my shortcomings and misadventures,

(Victims of our angels and gods; throw them on the fire.)

And the trails of smoke drift aimlessly upward

Towards birds who cackle and twitter unconsciously,

Oblivious to all of the machinations below.


6 thoughts on “a small fire

  1. Love this poem and wondering if the next fire victim should be oblivious twittering birds or the one’s below amid plot. Agree with Steve, intense.

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