If We Burn

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If We Burn

What flares instead to replace our
privileged nights? And which

assemblage of words could reorder these
deaths into comprehension,

change I can’t breathe from epitaph
to actuated plea for help?

Are words ever enough?
Can we stack our indifference and fear

into a mile-high pyre, and torching it
watch them rise to nothingness,

disappearing through the clouds
into the streaming light of cold, dark stars?

Raise your hands and sing. Blow softly
upon the ember. Inhale and recall.

Do you still feel? Will you breathe?
Every fire needs oxygen.

“If We Burn” first appeared on this blog in December, 2014. It’s also included in my chapbook, If Your Matter Could Reform.

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54 thoughts on “If We Burn

  1. “And which
    assemblage of words could reorder these
    deaths into comprehension…”

    I warrant that no words could or should render the deaths of which you write, comprehensible. However, your words do offer an opportunity for reflection and ‘re-imagining’. For that, dear poet, I am grateful!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Can’t believe how much I have missed due to my hiatus.

    Do you still feel? Will you breathe?
    Every fire needs oxygen.

    There has never been a better ending. A declaration just sad enough and still too beautiful to awaken any lover.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Your protest poems (if I may term it that) are so elegant and lyrical, Bob. I have to think–a much more incisive and affecting way to move and, thus, persuade people. Blind vitriol and raw outrage tend to begat more of the same . . . so I have learned, the hard way.
    Would be fascinated to hear how you read it, timbre- and pitch-wise.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oh no, don’t stack the indifference and fear and burn them … that’ll only give them more room to grow. We wonder what happened to them when they faded into the night; where they would finally settle when their ashes follow the flow of the winds… oh the insecurities. Don’t let them burn.

    Liked by 2 people

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