When there’s nothing left to burn,
you have to set yourself on fire
—Stars, Your Ex Lover Is Dead
The one thing you’ll regret is not
setting the world on fire yourself.
Here we are, young and attractive,
poetic, even, with steam curling
from the tips of our fingers, searing
scorch marks on asphalt roads, fire
smoldering at the tips of our tongues.
If we wanted to
we could speak flame,
set whichever body ablaze with our lips,
raze this city down with our touch,
melt another skyscraper in the CBD,
another gas station, another plastic factory.
The bones of this city are kindling
we need only breathe
Piles of dead bodies, the gas tanks of cars,
oil sheens slick on water trickling through
gutters, money wads in casinos. This swamp
of concrete begs for a spark. Everything
is tinder. Watch: this house
of matches ignites when I
You do not.
30 years from now, your skin
mummified against your bones,
nothing but the buttresses
of your vertebrae remaining
as your throat, your last phalanx
desiccating at the end of your wrist,
you will sit against
what was once a tower of glass,
when all the forests are cities
and all the oceans are cities
and all the cities are desert and ash.
You will try to speak then
but the wind will grind into your bones
and your wrist bones will shatter
into rubble beneath your tailbone.
It won’t even rain. No vultures.
No mushrooms blooming in soft earth.
There will only be melted glass and twisted
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