In orange glare, in smoke -- the fire keeps growing, keeps approaching.
It shrieks at what it comes upon, it takes things up into a whipping brilliance --
though there are things it does not touch,
things it only hisses at and surges past. No one knows why.
It is as if the fire is searching, desperate
to learn what it is searching for, desperate to see what is around it,
everywhere swinging its enormous smashed lantern.
It touches, it incinerates; and in that instant
it is as if it becomes a thing, and remembers -- then the thing is gone
and the fire must keep searching, blind and lost;
the world is the elsewhere in the fire-gouged eyes of a doll.
Now over the charcoal of towns, of trestles -- the fire hidden away somewhere --
the light that does not harm, that simply shines, that comes after,
the gentle light arrives. It, too, is searching.
It finds us, it takes up into itself much of what we are. Arrives
feeling the places the fire has been -- smiling over the beds of ash.
And like the black hunger that swept through, it too is a command.
The ones who return to the homes they fled --
each of them is the fire's weeping twin, wrapped
in exquisite flesh, come to a mansion burnt
except for a threshold or a part of a door frame,
and must make up a song to be sung for a child.