Blistered leaves were fluttering
on updrafts of warm air,
like summertime
on the seventeenth of January;
charred faces flitting past their mothers
dressed in mourning by attendant flames
kneeling so subservient
in the undergrowth.

Your bones gleamed defiant,
crumbling at the corners
of a misdemeanor contract
asking you to stand against
as a paper wall between the tongues
of smoldering lovers
biting at each other's throats.

Blink a river of sorrow
from red-rimmed, smoky eyes,
blink unstated promises away
like stray bullets, right on target;
I wish we'd had a moment longer
before lit matches singed our fingertips,
a second split in two,
on half for each of us to speak
reversed hellos.

But we dropped our burning splinters
to devastate a mountainside,
so some part of the world
would remember us
in all our doubtful mediocrity,
belligerent conformity
filing down jagged edges
to align us to pagan standards.

And we're just ash now.