The Burning

Elizabeth Sanger

It has come to the end of our days, and we

know it. It is a long fall.

Habit dictates we bring home

spiced apples and sit on the porch with coffee

through the lengthening darks, hoping

our silences will shape the hard truth for us.

But as we were together, we fall apart.

You spend your time praying

in abstractions—mercy, shame, empirical figures

on the merit of here versus there—and I walk away

into the field of dying cow corn beside our house,

sink myself deep amongst the crinkled gold-

brown husks. Wind moves through, the corn

shivers up. It is past harvest. The story goes

that God loves this world so much he gives us

October, readies our crops and sets fire to all

that's left. So the opposite of love is not-

love, is absence. All for the joy of building it

up again. But there is a burning between us

yet. Come once into this field, this fire,

where I can see you. Stand at the center. Be

as the burning taper giving shape to the flame.

A thing you can touch.