In the square I saw children of the furnace
Carve afternoon gestures, half asleep,
With crosses in their palms,
And years burnt on their brows.
The bushes chewed dust; the roses leaned back
On powerful stems and spat
In the eyes of renewal;
Red fists flaring the dirt,
And it all meant nothing. A broken promise.
A piece without a plan. A sun laughing
From the safe side of an equation
At the integers squabbling over signs.
How can a dead man take his place
among the stars? They took him
But he is not there.
The words approach that cannot be said,
That in the saying slip away to other griefs:
If we remember, we have only ourselves
To blame. And if we loved, then
The pitiless flowers will offer no mercy.
FIRE 22, p 168; Ruvi Simmons