by Shawn Allen

Across the land, the streets
and buildings are smoldering;
waiting for the wind
to fan the embers into an inferno.

In Bangor and Bakersfield,
from South Beach to Seattle,
and everywhere in-between
pyromaniacs have put away their matches
awaiting the inevitable.
In the Heartland, along the rural routes,
the wicker men and bonfires stand ready.

Housewives wait for their lovers
while dinner burns on the stove.
Husbands loosen their ties
and drive on familiar streets,
wondering how they became lost.

Lonely girls light torches
and wave them from the rooftops.
In t-shirts and leather, lost gangs of boys
rumble with unfamiliar hungers.

Virgins lashed to the stake whisper
their secrets to angels and pray for passion.
The angels smoke cigarettes
and flick the ashes onto the pyre.

The stadium is a tinderbox and
in the bleachers, the spectators
raise their guttering lighters high
and sing of revolution.

Cheerleaders prowl in garish covens
defending their territory from intruders.
The home team presses the advantage
but comes up short of the goal.

Roller-derby queens race from car to car
on blazing skates, delivering fantasy and food
with equal ease.
In drive-in movie backseats teen-age passions
ignite before the intermission.

Pump-jockeys and mechanics prepare
to fight the fire with gasoline.
The volunteer firemen, sweating
and twisted in the sheets
sleep with arson in their hearts.

The faithful huddle in churches
praying to wrathful gods that nothing may change.
The faithless gather on the sweating streets
and pray that nothing remains.

Waiting in the depths of all these
hidden and desperate hearts a firestorm
smolders, aching to erupt;
a breath away from being born.

And there, the last abandoning angel
flees this lost metropolis
with a rush of wings.

Can you feel the wind rise?

(c) Shawn D. Allen