My clothes smell like after-fire:
Different from the scent of smoke as it rose and caught
itself in the fibers of fabric,
but conjuring remembrance of last night’s senses
working imperceptibly as they took in the flames
cracking and crackling
boards and branches hissing and snapping
firefly embers bursting into the dark
when the wind rose up
or when someone added something more
(a stick, a crate, the leg of a chair)
to keep it from dying
A world contained within the reach
of the fire,
lacking sense of time
or beginning or end: there is no other moment but this.
Our faces glowing and hot connect when we lock
eyes across the circle,
that we inhabit the same orb
The next morning – today –
I woke up dry-mouthed and hungry,
smelling of a lingering memory.
Sarah Jane Kerwin is an English PhD student, which means she spends most of her time reading and writing about other people’s writing, but occasionally has time for her own creative projects. She lives in Ann Arbor, but considers both North Carolina and Montana home.