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Letters to the Bat

What the Fire Saw

by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

I tell your rolling eyes
We will discuss the parallel universe in your head
When you get home
If, of course,
I am the present version of myself
At that time.
You really cannot trust time
And I cannot speak
For what another me might do.
Another me might never meet
Another you.

Airport kiss hello,
We make unscheduled love in the car.
Small talk, wall talk,
You insist on stopping at a fire sale.
I check the rear-view, ask
“Don’t I look disheveled?”
“Ravaged!” your unruly reply.

Funny the perfection of items
People will discard,
Platinum guest towels
With hand-embroidered indigo cherubs,
Soap dish under a gold-plated dragon’s breath,
Stone lion that guarded
What must have been the hyacinth patch
Near as I can identify
From the burnt and broken heads.

We carry our trinkets to the car.
Childlike, you turn your face up
To the October sky,
Say you never will get tired
Of the way the sun feels on your face.
I say the sun is set to explode.
Disenchantment bites your lip.
Not today, my Love, not today.

Red-robed, emergent from my bath,
I have forgotten the day’s question.
You are reading art news in bed.
Your opening arms trigger me to fall.
You say the things we bought today
Had to be released from the house.
They are what the fire saw.

You show me da Vinci’s
Long missing Salvator Mundi,
Christ holding the globe,
One hand in blessing, raised.
You say it’s a comfort
Even Jesus can get lost.
I read the report.
How many times I have
“And found.” closes the scene
Before the kiss
That silences the fire, the lions and the abyss.

Copyright © 2011 by Rebecca Lu Kiernan

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