After the Fire

There was an order to words –
the first one, the second one, and so on and so forth.

Those who sorted through still-life landscapes
made of grays, reds and silent oranges;
those muted by aluminum sculptures left
where cars burned so hot
they melted into surrealist manifestos;
those who anticipated with brush, chisel, pen, guitar:

there are no sanctuaries for the words
that were unspoken –
they aren’t recovering in the shadows of scrub oak
nor hibernating in solitary chimneys;
they aren’t the lost words of lovers
who search for the stanza they left behind
but instead find only fleeting vowels
in the nervous harmonies of homeless coyotes.

And when the time comes, at last, for
the words to follow these words –
the first one, the second one, and so on and so forth –
let us carve them into stone
cast them into a deep canyon
wait for the big rain to come
for mud to scrape them clean
for the sun to sanitize them
for a child to discover them;

then let us paint and sculpt and write
and sing the words –
and sing them –
and sing them again.