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Fever flame

For Former President Trump on January 6, 2020

If you sat across my kitchen table,

I would make tea and warm 

leftovers in refrigerated glass 

bowls. Answer the door, 

“Please come in,” with an honest

timbre. And hold the realness 

of your person, the distance 

between our booted feet, 

like phosphorus in rarified air. 


I would meet your gaze to look

for what’s left. Try to see you 

with the eyes of a maker. First

rule, “don’t do what you can’t undo.” 

Kettle shrieking, I would breathe 

steamy exhaust and the oxygen 

ache I cannot extinguish or fold 

into the edges of conversation. 

“You should get around to Dante.” 


You once were someone else, 

even more someones, decaying 

into understory. Tea saucer pause. 

“We were not ready” when the red 

tip struck. Feather trigger roaring, 

carbonizing airwaves and oaths,

blanketing unburied children –

spoon clinks – petrified beneath lost 

time. “The half life of fear is hate.”


Your name explodes off our 

tongues, fills rooms with star- 

eyed smoke, unbearable still.  

But if we sat eye-to-eye, I 

would bear it. Rage and honey. 

Not for you, but for the rest of us. 

Our redemption found in your 

unrescued, undead. “I will love 

like a forest loves a fever flame.”