April 4, 2012

The Sign of the Twisted Candles

This time, you light them
all at once, a flash
of sulphur, each forgotton

name. A tree, white blooms,
and all at once the smell
of an exhausted man.

It's spring, dogs
pause to darken lightpoles,
sniff at creosote

melting from old wood--
a beer can in the fire--dregs
of mutilated snails.

A chin dripping tobacco.
The way smoke shuts tight
your throat, singes

the tip of your braid.
A man's weighty hand,
your shoulder. You've dropped

the candleholder, snuffed
your light, darkened
your way out.