The first time the place burned,
I was fifteen and awake enough
to wait outside,
orange of eye,
to kneel amidst the ashes
and comb my blackened fingers
in their lunar surface.

I was reminded of that brown worm,
years ago, dragged in my hands
as I drew raking swirls in
the earth,
or of the trails of bicycle tires,
loose comets that helix in the dust.
I was now a swirl of dust,
I would be black smoke.

When I burned, my fingers raked jagged lines
on the air.