The night my house burned down, I asked
what now, and my mother had no answer.
Her silence frightened me, and so I looked,
in silence, back, and a wall knelt down.
If souls have bodies in another life, I see hers
here, young, afraid. And then, the fire.
Out of the dark, a siren. Out of the siren,
the rotational flash. The men rushing in.
To invent is to venture inward, to cross, open,
abandon, wound. My mother taught me.
The scent of char crystals as I wake.
A wind-chain crackles from the branches.
I eat a little something. I return, I say,
but I never return. If souls have bodies
in another life, I see my own standing
before a tower of light. I do not know
where grief goes, if it goes. When questions get
tired, they tend to sleep. I do. Out
of the soot an ember. Out of the fire, a door,
the ache of leaves crumpling from their hinges.
Bruce Bond is the author of twenty books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, Southern Illinois University Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way Books, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), and Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.