Smoke and Ashes

You sit on a rooftop, watching the smoke curl 
above your head—a cloud of pretty ashes, grey 
against the moonlight, perhaps the one they are 
convinced lingers above your head—and you taste 
destruction in your mouth, savour the way blood drips 
from between your shredded gums, grin—fiendish, 
feral, empty(?)—decorated by the glass half-glinting in 
the moon, bright where it stuck when your jaw began to 
clamp down on a mouthful of things too sharp for you to 
chew on, and it tastes normal, this thing, as normal as the 
flames licking the inside of your ravaged mouth, too un- 
noticeable beneath the fire in your stomach from the thing 
in your hand you always dream of sipping from when every- 
thing feels too vast, when it feels like the only way to narrow 
it all down to a thing you can handle, is to do ‘it’—stand up, 
and walk off the roof of the building, instead of only ever 
standing close enough to court vertigo; and you wonder why 
it always comes down to this for you, why the thing that stills 
the clawing, is this dream of smoke curling above your head, 
drifting from your mouth, and the butt of the glowing cancer 
in your hand, whetted by the echo of liqueur you don’t even 
feel, have never liked the taste of (it all tastes the same you 
say), while you lay on your back, soothed by the sensation 
of feeling tiny, and gaping, a lone figure wanting the stars 
within reach, content to raise your palm against them, and 
watch it fade into the dark, while they glitter reassuringly, 
telling of how vast the world is, and how much more there is 
to see of it, even if you ache in knowing you will probably touch 
so little of it—but you did always like the feel of flames too close 
to your skin, and the sensation of drifting, stars too far away to 
cling to; you’ve always been more grounded unanchored. 
K.N.O.W. Friday, August 11 – Monday, August 14, 2017.