By D. R. Goodman
On a night when something like fog obscures the city,
and dry trees loom through heavy wisps of gray,
I’m stopped, and stare. Faint orange lights shine through
at intervals in a breathless span of blankness
where any other night, the simple darkness
would glitter as if with pearls. This streetlamp, too,
is strange in its ashen haloed light, the way
it burns my eyes, and sweeps me through with pity.
That campfire smell, as we at first mistake it,
grows acrid—treated lumber, metal rail,
scorched cars, life’s treasures, all they had to show,
now airborne from a hundred miles away.
We’re stardust. On the airwaves, just today,
some rock star physicist proclaimed it so.
It burns my lungs. Bewildered, I inhale
the dust of those who ran and didn’t make it.
D. R. Goodman is the author of Greed: A Confession, from Able Muse Press. Twice winner of the Able Muse Write Prize, and 2015 winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, her work has appeared in such journals as Canary, Crazyhorse, Seattle Review, and many others; in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry; and Extreme Sonnets, edited by Beth Houston. A native of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, she now lives in Oakland, California, where she teaches martial arts.
Originally appeared in NOR 29