The Smoke That Follows


Consider first the innocent flame
born of the cross-sparks between our gazes.
Consider second that kisses can ignite cotton.
Then after withering to the floor
that you once stood.

But instead of my intense crazy
try and see only the why.
Close your eyes
and imagine
the ungraspable truth about smoke,
and why when putting puzzles together
we sort our pieces first into two piles:
one for edges,
and one for middles
(except when those puzzles are ourselves).

Imagine my decision to “lose it” less of a decision
Try and see it as me sorting my edge pieces all to the frontline
so I can seem as usual as possible,
while simultaneously reverting inwardly
with whatever precious middles I find
to horde feverishly
for the rest of forever.
See it as the smoke that follows the flame.
Watch it twist and seemingly disperse.

With savage pokes
I rummage through the ashy mounds
recently abandoned by their flames.
I am digging
for a sign of the sparks from before.
Being a man,
I wonder if ours
were as bright as the brightest
of all other sparks, post and prior.
Being a coward
I never ask.

Whatever the answer
we both know that our pieces got mixed up long ago.
That’s how I know that without me
no matter where you go
the best you’ll ever be
is busy sorting.

© Gregory James, 2015

Public Domain Photo