Our Burning City On The Hill

A thick blanket of chaos
falls upon the holy fires
consuming our city on the hill,
seeking a way to extinguish them;

we wake to mouthfuls of
robin feathers choking us
as we struggle in a bath of scalding air,
tortured by unbearable skin; we strip ourselves

of all objects metallic right down
to ancient fillings in our teeth;
we shift our church altars to the worship
of ice; we love each other from afar

in an effort to stay unmelted; watch
our unknown neighbors swell
with superheated air 
and rise,
sky lanterns celebrating 
immolation,

falling to earth in unknown places,
setting new fires 
in distant towns;
we can’t bother 
with those screaming beyond us;
we can’t bother to pick the stems

of those feathers from our mouths so
we swallow them as we do so much
else, knowing they will pierce us
like our bigotry from inside our deepest guts,

setting us to bleed boiling 
into our farthest crevices; a thick blanket
of chaos like a wool combed with spikes and 
the nails of dying children; in all this

the only hope left is that we drown soon
or suffocate in the steam of a rising ocean
that will bring the birds back in with it;
swooping over the last scraps of the old

conflagration, their feathers
coated in both mourning
and morning, exalting
as they grieve that our flesh

is no tender feast,
that we’re roasted to leather
as they swoop, seeking places
to nest in the wreckage

of our city on the hill.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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