Incense Stick

Incense Stick  
Written by Esther Barth, Writer and Editor

Three-dimensional whorls of smoke

Curl and curve with my breath

Suggestive of mushrooms and manta rays and owls’ eyes

Vague tails of baby dragons spinning

Toward the window opened

To discourage the smoke detector.

I’ve turned the desk lamp

To highlight the ephemeral curlicues

Like a spotlight on a dancer

And I, the sole witness of the audition,

Wonder about breathing secondhand smoke

But relish the red scent.

Ash falls

It’s three in the morning

And the movement of the burning suggests

Another spirit present to balance

Out my loneliness.

It’s one of my favorite kinds of night

Ponderously rainy with drips

That sound orange because they’re falling on the first leaves of autumn

And brick sopping up moisture

I know the slugs must be moving outside

Slow creatures caught between the aimless and the deliberate

Roused from their cold sleep

By flooded homes and forced to flee in the night

As my mother was

As my sister was

Would I had been there

It took a year for the house to recover

The stick is burnt halfway down now

Funny, the things we come to fear.

Ash falls

If only the smoke would prophetize

Or at least point the way

Up is a way

And now well do I understand the bends and spreads and twists it takes to get there

All right;

I would say point taken but

You are only all the kinds of round.

Creative Commons License
Urban Wildcat by Esther Barth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License