Kenneth Pobo: “Handwriting and Fire”

Handwriting and Fire

Run? Don’t bother.
Cower? Hide behind potatoes
in the cellar. For a minute.

Your life has come down
to a whisper–
you miss what gets said.

cities explode, you feel
millions of people
each inside you.
Open your mouth–
coffins fall out.

You think that if you move
to the countryside you’ll relax.
You stay put, a brown leaf
under snow.

Fear does little well,
but it has good handwriting.
It writes your name
under your fingernails.
Your fingers catch fire.
It spreads quickly.


Kenneth Pobo has a new book forthcoming from Circling Rivers called Loplop in a Red City. His work has appeared in: Colorado Review, Nimrod, Red Cedar Review, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere.


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