Ghost Fire

Doug Ramspeck

The old men are unsure. Something is twisting up and up to become a stair.

And what is the end for? Who would stop here and dream such

Once there was a fire. It was sinew and bone. It was a small thing. They

thought their ribs curved into it, that the scaffolding within them flared up into

a ghost. And they are trying to dream the smoke of it. The real is always at the

mercy of the mud of the river. Their lines cast out and out. Their bobbers float.

Or if they hear a breath of a syllable, it means the crows have come to find

them. Don’t move. Don’t draw in air. This is what the world says. And the

moon at night grows bloated then decays. And the stars are carrion flies.

And they search the ashes for bits of bone.