He touched the back of his neck,
forked his fingers through red hair,
and the trees breathed their dioxide in the street,
and the gulls waved their cuts in the air,
placed themselves, and I asked if this
was what he meant, the static,
and he nodded, and I looked down
at my hands touching themselves
touching the only skin they'll own,
and he moved to touch my hair,
hair grown pale in the winter, silver
like the iced trees in half-light
and I asked what could be done, what
could break or trouble the form
our lives had taken and he said
he didn't know, but I knew
that this was how it would be
and the town in my head
where my inventions moved
in their elaborate machines, their dramas
and re-enactments, their closing doors
and sweeping, their papers
rifled through and tested for accuracy,
that town began to empty
until the room was full of that population,
and they were of me and I
was of them, and they
broke into pieces, a windshield
gone through, and they left
in fragments through the window
I cracked to let out the smoke,
left me looking down at my hands
and I knew I'd never hear them again
and that they were the smoke
and—town gone, vast catastrophe—
I was what they left behind in the fire.