When you sit down to write, is death ever sitting beside you?

"...the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was 
no longer any sea."
~ Revelation 21: 1

Should I say Please don't come
too close, don't breathe that way

down my neck so I smell resin and smoke
from forests burning, hear the crackle

of wings as the rainforest ceiling
begins its collapse? You seem

so curious about what I might write
next, now that the world's catalog

of images has dwindled: not yet nothing,
not yet complete extinction, but well

on the way. Your cloak is the color
of worn silk or dull knives, your hair

a sad and unconditioned tangle desperate
for a brush. I was unhappy too, going

without a shower for weeks after our city
shook like a train of dominoes clicking

down and down around every block— The first
night, hard rain made moats of mud around

each cracked plywood sheet we tossed
for bedding on the ground. And then

the taps hissed like crazed snakes
so we backed away, taking our plastic

pails instead to the empty lake. Nothing
lasts; hasn't that always been your bottom

line? But these circling moths, these
thin-winged creatures with indigo bars

and copper eyes on their backs: I want
so much to cup their shine in my hands,

pin them to my hair or breast— keepsakes
I won't surrender to the ongoing blaze.

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