Their skin is the black ash of paper —
they skim the still burning woods
for a place to nest. I like to think of them
like a friend who can sense
a crisis from a continent away: she
finds the breaking apart and blackening
of a body eaten by its own heat and sees
a place to grow. Their teeth have the hold of
golden rings; they think everything falling
is a tree. They want to burrow
inward, in the smoke singed, still taught
grain of wood, the cool and final wall of
of its winding together, its separateness.
There is nothing a stillness won’t penetrate.
Fire is an inlet you can feel with your tongue.
Even your errors do not stop you, the lake of smoldering
oil after a chemical spill is just another
iron to bite into: you open like an ocean
to the salt of other streams. There are some roads
that move only silence to its destination,
long highways that blue like smoke in fall rain.
There are countries where death is still an investigation.
There is a withering shadow, a small retreating
world where a mind still glows with cold. There
are still rooms where someone wants to close the door.
You would run from this, to our new world
where even clouds break open with the weight of their heat.