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Burn

Paul Vermeersch
From:   Burn. ECW Press, 2000.


Meanwhile near the opposite pole an albatross
wings along one of the Earth's great circles,
winter, and the heavens are resounding purple,

and elsewhere a festival continues to rage
on Queen Street.        Inside, someone is speaking
into a microphone. Comets move

through our system. The BamBoo is dark.
A woman squints for me in the doorway,
joins me at my table. She tries to tell me, Hello.

It will be cold everywhere soon,
even underground, and the reports of birds
trapped inside will rise, believe me.

The comets Shoemaker-Levy
and Hale-Bopp dogfight
somewhere below the belt of Orion;

the former returning to score the swirled
smoke hide of the planet Jupiter, a skip-stone
leaving horrible scars on the pond.

These are the facts: the festival, yes,
the woman stirs her drink, Jupiter is injured,
and the albatross crashing the surface,

the sudden cold and the caught fish
giving itself up to death, saying, This
is my body. This is my body.

Tomorrow morning will still be cold for most of us.
Some of our foreheads will burn, and none of us
would ever dream of leaving our beds,

not like this- not unless something changes.



Paul Vermeersch's works copyright © to the author.


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