patterns of succession

every day that goes up in flames
   is a star that falls too early,
a star that shines too late;
poetry is a metaphor for reality,
   but they don’t tell you what to do
   when old metaphors become new truths,
when ‘the earth is on fire’ becomes fact,
   and you’re faced with something –
something so expected, so comprehendible,
you can’t even begin to shed a tear.

every day that goes up in flames
   is a sliver shaved off of the end of my life,
another wood sliver hammered into your coffin;
we used to dance to the rhythm of the earth,
   to the rising, falling tides
   and the migration patterns of the birds,
and now we can’t even hold each other’s hands,
   we’re so torn apart by these borderlands,
and this choking smoke births only bitterness in our mouths,
hatred in the place of our hearts.

every day that goes up in flames
   is another soul being lost to our shame,
another soul surrendering to meaningless pain;
you think you’re so smart but you don’t understand,
   it was never about evolution
   or power or race,
it was about time and space,
   a home to heal in without leaving a trace –
but the trace you’ve left is a full-body burn scar
and the healing ice and cold water have melted away.

look into my eyes,
   and hear my voice on these nights,
because it doesn’t have to be this way.
every day we walk to save our children from the firelight,
   to turn reality back into metaphoric poetry,
   is a day of meaning,
an offer of hope and healing,
   because we can dance to the rhythm again –

and it wouldn’t be a miracle.

it would be nothing more, nothing less
than a simple act of love.