Incen / diary
considering the Upstairs Lounge Fire
We tipped our sticks to the gravel like the bent
spines of men groveling beneath trunks of smoke
to lure the barbed larvae from the oak-sheltered
path horseshoeing the Catholic church.
The same church we’d slink inside to extinguish
our June-noon thirst, & same oaks buck moth
caterpillars fell from as if the foil-garbed boughs
were crowned in flame. Never did they
sting us. Still, we considered it a service
to the cul-de-sac — cull as many pests as possible;
scrape them into an inescapable jar. Their heads
red as fresh scabs; red as the 32ct matches
prior to us striking the tips against the strip
of phosphoric friction. When the burning caught
they jerked & swayed like lovers behind a piano
set ablaze, their guts gushed black as tar
& their remains wilted like the butts of old cigars.
We took a step back to listen to the fire crackle
like leaves underfoot, to behold a few hump away
& others glow in ascension. We witnessed them
become charcoal-winged combustion that flitted
from white to yellow to orange to nothing.