Some smokes the skin off of all, itself all streamline of screaming speed and forgotten trajectory. In it we cower, space drawn between cells until the sense of self, of a unified being is stretched beyond its plasticity. We burn everything. Papers and certificates, the mail a man walked to our door. Clever pictures drawn by the puerile hands of our own children. Leftovers even though we’re still hungry. Bills way past due. Everything. The mechanism of the periscope requires tight tolerances and a steady touch. To see and not be seen, but more the insular cocoon and the wide-spread sky. Keeping what’s out out and what’s in in, discerning between the two. We burn our skin in haste. We burn bridges built from toothpicks just to know what fragility means. We burn desktop documents, dresser drawers full of band t-shirts, photo albums, tax returns, Christmas lists and students’ essays. The procedure for stifling progeny requires a twelve-hour fast. Requires sedation, so that derestricted dreams can guide the surgeon’s blue hands. Requires apathy and arrogance in exactly equal measures. We burn with habit, which is a fire lit by a long-gone past, carelessly dropping a cigarette in a mineshaft until the entire state smolders from caves and fissures and moles’ holes and bubbles rising up through rivers. The proper grammar requires agreement in number and person. The proper grammar describes the pace of unfolding time. The proper grammar borne back from the infinitive. The proper grammar is a flame. We burn patterns in the terrain we cannot read until we burn the air with a fuel to lift us aloft. We burn our brands into everything we long to keep. We burn our blood with drugs and glutting and razors. We burn religion with the reasons we burn each other’s bodies, immolate whatever we can’t touch and all the things we can. We burn our candles with the darkness, burn our chimneys with the memory of trees, burn our throats with what we’ve thought to say but’ve never said, & burn the bed with the smell of sweat and skin, wishing for her return.
A poem regarding the shape.