Monday, April 09, 2007

Fire Underneath

Prognostication fails at the end of time.
Tarot cards turned over reveal blank faces
and bells swing tongueless, empty of all chime.
Entrails on temple paving show no traces
of empire’s future or republic’s past—
sacred birds huddle sullen on their perches
refusing to fly. The king today may be the last
of his dynasty. An uneasy populace searches
for news among the chalk marks scrawled
by children playing sidewalk games. As though
(the elderly turn from this thought, appalled)
children belong to the future, and therefore know
better than the rest, what taints the air we breathe:
distant smoke, with fire lurking underneath.

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