Fire Once Lived

I slipped behind
the outcropping
like a black door.
The cavern moved
in the dark shape
of whales diving
to grave or birth.
In the entrance
like a familiar bed
I lay where a fire
once lived, still
each taken breath
charred my lungs
and nostrils.
Confined to become
my own guidance
without a pass
of safety,
I spread the ash
in an image book.

John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. His work has recently appeared in vox poeticaThe Camel Saloon, and Flutter.

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