Thursday, December 18, 2008


I read it in the morning paper:
something happened late last night
long after sleep had made my gaze
grow dim, had made me quench my taper,
go to bed. I missed the flight
of meteors, that airborne blaze

that set a local home ablaze
as matches would a house of paper.
Sleepers, tumbled into flight,
escaped in safety. But all night
the fire kept burning, would not taper
off. The morning's smoky gaze

fell on the passers-by who gazed
at No.13, which still blazed.
A journalist and video-taper,
staffers from a local paper,
said they'd stand there til tonight
or til the fire was out. A flight

of smoke-jumpers was now in flight,
they claimed (but wouldn't meet my gaze)
recruited by an overnight
emergency phone call. This blaze
refused to yield—so said the paper—
to local firemen. Not some taper

you could pinch out with your tapered
fingers, unscorched. Not some flight
of model airplanes, balsa papered
to delight a childish gaze.
This meteorite, this rock ablaze
that fell on us so late at night

was dragon-breath to armored knight.
It draws us, as a burning taper
(tiny sister to this blaze)
can capture moths in circling flight.
They're helpless to avert their gaze
until their wings burn up like paper.

My taper-fascinated gaze
circles round the nightlong blaze,
a paper plane in dangerous flight.

--for Cafe Writing

Collection available! Knocking from Inside

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