All night the beggar queen dreams
on her throne of words, striking
match head after match head to flush
the dawn sky salmon. I watched it
change color that way only once, sleeping
on a beach in a borrowed blanket.
Sandpipers and gulls left imprints
on wet sand. Above, birds flew
ahead of a curtain of coming rain.
The air smelled of sulphur,
of phosphorus, of gunpowder—
residue of some resplendent
catastrophe, as if a column of fire
or a city were burning somewhere;
as if a fire-stealer were returning
to the world red-handed. Glowing baton
in each hand, mouth full of knowledge:
heart an ember oblivious to danger.
In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.